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Hungry? Grab a beefy#8217; Twinkie By Jennipher Dickens 02/13/2008 Sometimes the most seemingly meaningless of conversations can lead to a revelation. I was sitting here at my desk a few days ago chat

Sometimes the most seemingly meaningless of conversations can lead to a revelation.

I was sitting here at my desk a few days ago chatting with my co-worker Amanda VanDerBroek about nothing in particular.

Hunger struck, and I reached into my well-stocked junk food drawer to grab a Twinkie.

Amanda gave me The Look and asked if I was aware that those things were made up of all sorts of unhealthy stuff.

I jokingly replied that they must have some sort of &uot;good stuff&uot; in them to make them so tasty.

Then I proceeded to read the ingredients… of course all the things I expected were in there: flour, sugar, water, corn syrup… then I got to one that was unexpected – beef fat.

Yes, you read that right.

Twinkies apparently contain fat from cows.

Doesn’t that sound yummy?

Next time I go to a steakhouse, I think I’ll just take along a Twinkie and save some money.

Mmm, beefy.

Not to be deterred, I was still determined to have my Twinkie.

I opened the wrapper, took a bite… and discovered I no longer had an appetite for one of my former favorite foods.

I kept imagining biting into cellulite from a large cow… yuck.

That’s not exactly what I had in mind when I wanted something sweet.

Well, I’m the type of person who likes to research things just for the fun of learning more about whatever it is I’m interested in.

So, I promptly went online and Googled, &uot;Twinkies contain beef fat.&uot;

I found that I was not the only person to ever discover and take issue with this particular ingredient.

I also learned that many more manufactured foods contain less-than-desirable ingredients.

Store-bought bread, for instance, contains many additives and preservatives most people would never knowingly consume.

Manufacturers put in these chemicals to speed up the production process and also to make their products last longer on store shelves.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me it’s rather disconcerting to think that every time I eat a sandwich made from loaf bread, I’m taking a bite of calcium sulfate and ammonium chloride, among other things.

Yum, just what I always wanted – a big chunk of drywall with a side of shampoo for lunch.

For desert, I think I’ll have a big bag or two of buttery popcorn.

Hopefully it won’t give me &uot;popcorn lung&uot; like all those factory workers who made the stuff, or that man in Colorado who got the potentially fatal disease from eating it daily for 10 years.

On second thought, maybe I’ll skip the popcorn.

Or I could munch on Wheat Thins, which contain BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), a preservative also used in jet fuel and embalming fluids that has, I might add, been banned from use in foods in Japan, Romania, Sweden and Australia.

But not here in the US, of course… since most of our goodies come from China, land of toxic foods and toys.

Here, it’s apparently okay to expose consumers to all sorts of harmful chemicals, all in the name of giving them a longer shelf life and thus saving the manufacturers money.

Knowing all of this probably won’t keep me from eating most of these foods (not much choice in the matter these days unless you’re a housewife with too much time on your hands) but I believe people should be informed about what, exactly, they are putting into their bodies.

I wonder what the health of Americans will be like 30 years from now after decades of consuming excess amounts of manufactured foods.

(Probably not so great, I’ll bet.)

Do you know what’s really in the foods YOU eat?

Want to let me know what you think?

Have a suggestion for a future column? Feel free send an email to: jennipher.dickens@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7208.