HealthZette

A Deep-Fried Twinkie on Every Plate

Artery cloggers hit the grocery shelf, and guess who's buying more of them than anyone?

There are certain foods we just crave this time of year as all the state and county fair rolls around. And, quite honestly, it’s OK once a year to treat ourselves to some of these deliciously fried foods — corn dogs, funnel cakes, deep-fried bacon burgers, and cotton candy. They won’t kill us if they’re consumed in moderation.

But there’s a catch. Hostess apparently sees a year-round demand for deep-fried Twinkies — as the company, under new ownership, looks to stage a comeback. On Friday it announced it’s launching packaged “Deep-Fried Twinkies,” which marks its first foray into frozen foods.

“Consumers are trying to decrease sugar and this new product goes against the trend,” said one nutritionist.

Wal-Mart will be sole distributor of the vanilla and chocolate cream-filled snacks for at least the first three months, The Associated Press reported.

While many people may be lining up for the traditional fair foods, nutritionists caution against — as you knew they would — the wide availability of foods like this and our cravings for them. These foods are not doing our health any favors.

“When such a product goes from being a one-time summer treat to being available at the market, the concern is that it becomes too available and tempting,” said Jennifer Glockner, a registered dietitian nutritionist in the Los Angeles area and creator of the Smartee Plate nutrition e-book series for kids.

Baby boomers are buying more of these foods than millennials are, said Glockner.

“Millennials are looking for healthier snacks that taste good, with less sugar, a variety of flavors — and foods that offer health benefits such as protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Consumers are trying to decrease sugar and this new product goes against the trend,” she told LifeZette.

“Compared to the original Twinkie, the deep-fried one is higher in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium,” said Glockner.

But people in general do crave sugar, salt, and fat — often for emotional reasons, Glockner added. Sugar causes serotonin to be released, leading to a feeling of pleasure. Deep-Fried Twinkies cater to that kind of craving.

“Fried foods like Entenmann’s donuts and Deep Fried Twinkies are high in calories, sugar, sodium, and fat, including saturated fat. Fifty percent of the carbs in Deep-Fried Twinkies come from sugar — most likely added. The new dietary guidelines recommend restricting added sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories,” said Glockner.

She points out that added sugar leads to obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. In addition, these Twinkies contain 300 mg of sodium, which is a significant amount of salt — especially since this is a sweet rather than a savory product.

Related: Why Eating Well Isn’t Easy

“Most of the sodium in our diets come from processed food. Excessive sodium may lead to hypertension, heart and kidney diseases. Furthermore, this product contains 9 grams of total fat and 2.5 grams of saturated fat, which is not a heart-healthy fat. Compared to the original Twinkie, the deep-fried one is higher in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.”

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Again, an occasional treat may not be awful. And reserving a treat like this for special occasions is perhaps the sweetest reward of all.

Even better — “Share the treat so everyone gets a small taste.”