Are Twinkies Vegan?
The answer is unfortunately no. Even though Twinkies are a beloved American snack, the classic cake-like treat contains several animal-derived ingredients that make it off-limits for vegans.
Twinkies contain several ingredients derived from animal sources such as eggs, dairy, and honey. While some of these ingredients can be found in vegan forms such as egg replacers and vegan honey replacements, they are not present in Twinkies.
Additionally, the company uses white sugar harvested from animal bones (unrefined white sugar) which adds another non-vegan component to the cake’s list of ingredients.
As Americans become more conscious of their dietary choices than ever before, they want to know if they can still enjoy their childhood favorites like Twinkies. Unfortunately, this classic golden sponge cake isn’t vegan-friendly and will have to stay an occasional treat for those looking for a plant-based lifestyle.
What Are Twinkies?
Twinkies are an iconic American snack that is instantly recognizable as the light and golden sponge cake. They are around four inches in length and about one and a half-inch in width.
Twinkies have a moist texture and mild flavor, with the cake tasting like butter. The white cream filling adds sweetness with a smooth texture.
Twinkies are popular amongst all age groups, from young children to adults. They are cheap, convenient snacks that can be found at almost any convenience store or supermarket.
Twinkies do not require refrigeration which makes them perfect for people on the go, or for those who are searching for snacks during long road trips or hikes.
Although they may appear to be vegan due to their simple ingredients list, they, unfortunately, contain dairy products including milk, butter, and eggs – so they’re not suitable for vegans. However, most vegetarians can still enjoy twinkies!
Twinkies have been a classic staple in American snack culture since 1930 when they were invented by a Canadian baker named James Alexander Dewar. Inspired by the unused cream-filled strawberry shortcake machines that were left idle during the off-season, he came up with the idea of creating a cream-filled cake like Twinkies.
Since then, Twinkies have been one of the most popular snacks in America and are enjoyed by children and adults alike. However, in 2012, their parent company Hostess filed for bankruptcy as declining sales led to a 20% reduction in Twinkie production.
Fortunately, soon after this incident Twinkies were back on shelves in 2013. Over the years, Twinkies’ recipe has also changed as new ingredients and technologies become available; yet its delicious taste remains unchanged.
Why Are They Not Vegan?
Twinkies may look innocent on the outside, but they are unfortunately not vegan. The main reason for this is that Twinkies contain beef fat (also known as tallow) as one of their preservatives. This is a common ingredient in many packaged and fast foods, as it helps increase shelf life.
Additionally, Twinkies also contain eggs which vegans don’t eat, and they have dairy content which makes them non-vegan as well. Even though these treats come with a ton of ingredients – including artificial flavors and preservatives – the major culprits contributing to their non-vegan status are beef fat, eggs, and dairy content.
For those following a vegan diet or lifestyle, it can be disappointing to learn that such an innocent treat is not suitable for consumption. Unfortunately, that’s why Twinkies cannot be considered vegan-friendly treats.
Most people don’t realize what exactly Twinkies are made of, but the eight main ingredients are corn syrup, sugar, flour, high fructose corn syrup, water, eggs, and dextrose. Besides these basic ingredients, it also comes with a bunch of preservatives and artificial flavors like sodium caseinate, soybean oil flavorings, sodium metabisulfite, and mono- and di-glycerides.
These ingredients can be vegan-friendly in some cases depending upon their sources. For instance, modified food starch may contain non-vegetable enzymes while some preservatives may be derived from animal sources.
Therefore it’s important to check the labels before determining if something is vegan or not. This is especially true for products like Twinkies which have many different ingredients.
Polysorbate 60 is an ingredient found in Twinkies that has raised questions as to whether they are vegan or not. It is a type of emulsifier and its primary purpose is to help keep the filling stay creamy without using extra fat. Unfortunately, Polysorbate 60 typically contains animal-derived products so it would not be considered vegan-friendly.
Mono & Diglycerides
Mono and diglycerides help extend Twinkies’ shelf life so that they don’t go bad within a short time. They also help improve their texture and create a lighter crumb structure.
For people who consider these ingredients to be non-vegan, the presence of mono and diglycerides means that, technically, Twinkies would not qualify as vegan snacks.
Soy Protein Isolate
Soy protein isolate is a form of soybean that retains the protein but has no other nutritional content. It is primarily used as a binding agent for baked goods.
Sorbic acid is a preservative that keeps cakes from growing mold.
This ingredient is an alternative to fat, making the filling creamy and smooth.
This ingredient is mainly used to enhance the appearance and taste of the cake.
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
Sodium stearoyl lactylate is used in Twinkies to give the dough more strength, and also for emulsifying oils and liquids. Additionally, it can take the place of a small portion of sugar and fat.
As you might be aware, Twinkies contain beef fat which is not vegan-friendly and acts as a preservative in order to give it longer shelf life.
Are Twinkies Good For You?
Though some studies may claim that Twinkies could be healthy for you compared to energy bars, the truth is that Twinkies still contain a high amount of fat and sugar—so they are not ideal if you are overweight or obese.
One Twinkie contains roughly 135 calories, and when you look at its list of ingredients, you’ll find more than 30 ingredients, a majority of which most people likely can’t identify.
These include corn syrup, wheat flour, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and beef oil. This combination of unhealthy ingredients makes the Twinkie far from the best option out there when it comes to nutritional value.
Though the low fat and calorie count might make them tempting for dieters in a pinch, these treats should not be considered part of one’s regular diet—especially if weight loss is your goal. If you decide to give in every once in a while, just keep it as an occasional treat.
If you’re following a vegan diet and looking for something that tastes like Twinkies, there may not be a lot of vegan-friendly snacks. However, it’s possible to bake your own vegan-friendly version of Twinkies.
The benefit of making your own Twinkies is that you can avoid the non-vegan ingredients such as beef fat and egg found in store-bought Twinkies. Plus, you can customize the flavor by adding your own touches to the recipe. You can use plant-based dairy alternatives or different kinds of fruit extract to make various flavors.
Making your own vegan Twinkies also gives you more control over the ingredients so that you can be sure they are all cruelty-free and sustainable. There are plenty of delicious vegan recipes available online, so try out different ones and see which one fits best with your taste.
With homemade vegan Twinkies, you won’t have to sacrifice flavor and will still support a cruelty-free lifestyle!
When it comes to Twinkies, the answer is clear they are not suitable for someone who follows a strict vegan diet. Since beef fat and egg are included in their ingredients, vegans should avoid eating them.
However, there are still many vegan snacks available that are just as tasty as Twinkies! It’s important to always do the required research when shopping for groceries and double-check labels so you can maintain your vegan lifestyle without having to sacrifice taste.
Hey'all I'm Amy, a born foodie and diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago. I refused to cave into tasteless, boring gulten free food and create my own!
On my blog you'll find info & cool facts along with recipes, all on gluten free foods!