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  • Writer's pictureKaren Herbert

3 Fun Facts About the Iconic Snack Cakes - Twinkies

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

Everyone knows about Twinkies snack cakes - but do you know these fun facts? Celebrate National Twinkie Day - April 6th! Today is believed to be the day Twinkies were invented in 1930.

1. Twinkies Shelf-Life

A science experiment on a Twinkie in Maine has lasted 40 years and counting. A Chemistry teacher, Roger Bennatti, at the George Stevens Academy bought the snack cake in 1976 as part of a lesson about food preservatives. Every year or so, there's an update on this solo Twinkie and the story of the science experiment.

It sat on top of a chalkboard until Bennatti retired. One of his students, the Dean of Students in 2016, took possession of the Twinkie, now gray and in a glass case. The Twinkie looks to be the same size and shape, but has turned from gold to gray and its texture has gotten a bit rough.

The Dean, Libby Rosemeier, planned to retire the next year, and it remains unclear where the Twinkie is now. Presumably still at George Stevens Academy.

George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill, Maine. Courtesy Libby Rosemeier for ABC News 2016.

2. Twinkies Diet

In 2010, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary Twinkies every three hours, instead of meals. His "Twinkies Diet" lasted 10 weeks. To add variety to his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals, and Oreos, too. He limited himself to 1800 calories a day of these convenience foods.

Haub shed 27 pounds in two months. A man usually consumes about 2,500 calories daily, the total varying by beginning weight and age. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: he consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned.

At the time, Haub made quite a stir in the news. Many nutritionists weighed in on the success of his weight loss and improvement in other health markers. Dawn Jackson Blatner, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association at the time, said it's not surprising to hear Haub's health improved even when he ate mostly processed snack cakes. Being overweight is the central issue that leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, she said.

3. Twinkies Shortage

The cream-filled snacks – along with other Hostess treats such as Ding Dongs, CupCakes, and Ho Hos – disappeared from stores when the company filed for bankruptcy in January 2012 and then suddenly shut down in November 2012 amid employee strikes and financial troubles. With no buyer lined up, Hostess announced the end of production.

I'm not sure why Twinkies got all the attention - my favorite is the SnoBall, especially the seasonal colors. But suddenly there was a run on Twinkies, leading to exorbitant pricing on eBay.

Picture from WCIV Charleston SC, November 12, 2012

The frenzy of buying and nostalgia saved the Twinkies! Two private companies, Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management, purchased the brands and started up production again a few months later. You may have not even noticed the lack of Hostess goodies at the store before they made a "sweet return."

Will you be eating one to celebrate the origins of this icon of snacks?

Disclaimer: I received no compensation, nor free Twinkies, for this post.

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