Saturday, January 22, 2011

In Perspective — My Dream Has Gone Up in Polysobate 60

By Rodney Hays

It took a world where commemorative two-dollar bills are allegedly worth $30 but if you call now you can buy them for $10 to totally shatter my dreams.

Most people's dreams are shattered after taking college classes or after their first performance review or after taking part in "So You Think You Can Dance." Not mine, however. My dreams were shattered after doing some research on The Internet -- The Source Of All Truth.

A couple of weeks ago, after a serious bout of a type of arthritis I have, I decided I might need to change my lifestyle a little bit. The first thing I changed was my diet. I've tried different diets in the past. I've tried the South Beach Diet. I've tried to count calories. I've tried counting points. I've even tried something called the "drink the water in Mexico diet" (that one really works by the way).

I thought I hit the jackpot when a simple search landed on the Twinkie diet. According to the story I read, Kansas State University professor Mark Haub lost 27 pounds by eating mostly junk food, including Twinkies, mixed in with a few greens and proteins shakes. What a beautiful world we live in where a man can lose 27 pounds in two months by eating my beloved Twinkies.

Because of my bad health, I was trying find some type of diet or lifestyle that I could live by and sustain for the rest of my life. Would Twinkies be the answer?


I did a little research on Twinkies and I was shocked, astonished and crushed in what I found. Did you know Twinkies, the delicious sponge cakes of my youth, use 37 different ingredients to make these confectionery treats? I didn't either.

Author Steve Ettlinger has now ruined my life, shattered my dreams and yanked Twinkies off my menu. Ettlinger wrote a book called "Twinkie Deconstructed."

Ettlinger went to great lengths to not only identify the 37 ingredients but to find out where the ingredients came from -- some even come from mines in Oklahoma and corn fields in Iowa. He wanted to know what things like polysorbate 60 and high fructose corn syrup were. I guess I would too.

Actually I guess I do too. Plus I wanted to know why in the world it takes 37 ingredients to make a yellow sponge cake with a cream filling?

Here are a couple of the ingredients I have questions about:

1. Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, cornstarch -- What is the deal with so many corn products in my beloved Twinkies? Does anybody know what happens to corn when you eat it? Not much actually. I'm not even sure our bodies recognize corn. Ever wonder about how corn is digested? To put it delicately, let's just say it travels to the city's waste facility in much the same condition as it enters the body.

So why does it take four different corn products to make my Twinkies? Answer: it doesn't. Or at least it shouldn't.

I also found out that just about everything we eat has corn in it, from hamburger meat to soft drinks.


2. I understand flour, eggs and sugar but what the heck is polysorbate 60. In one article I read, polysorbate 60 can be used in imitation cream. But it's also used in some medicines like Orajel and something to stimulate hair growth. It can also be used in shampoos, skin softeners and tanning lotion. Yum. Pass me the SPF 60.

Ettlinger had this to say in his book, ingredients like cellulose gum, Polysorbate 60, and calcium sulfate are also used in sheet rock, shampoo, and rocket fuel.

3. Let's not forget about the sodium stearoyl lactylate, natural and artificial flavors, sorbic acid (to retain freshness), Yellow 5, Red 40.

Yellow 5 and Red 40?

I need help. But I guess that help will not come from Twinkies.

It's upsetting. But there are some good foods out there. There's plenty of food that is healthy, including meat (without corn), vegetables (corn is a grain, not a vegetable) and healthy oils (not made with corn).

Maybe I won't miss Twinkies that much. They don't taste nearly as good as they did in 1975 anyway. And I sure won't miss being fat, sick and tired. I can guarantee you that.

I probably will miss that Red 40 though. Red is one of my favorite colors.

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