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Twinkies Sales Surge Despite Healthy Eating Trends

Most Americans say the right thing when they are surveyed about their eating habits but there are troubling sales trends that suggest unhealthy indulgences are still finding their way into diets.  Bloomberg reported that the number of millennials consuming Twinkies is on the upswing. As a result, Hostess Brands is enjoying a surprising sales renaissance despite an increase in healthy eating habits for the population as a whole. Can you have your "fake food" sponge cake and eat it too? The answer remains no. 

The Twinkie was a junk food staple for generations but disappeared from store shelves after Hostess declared bankruptcy in 2013. Unfortunately, an enforced shortage created new demand for this heavily processed sponge cake that is filled with a cloying, faux-cream paste.

Twinkies have been shamelessly marketed to children. Their mascot, a grinning, anthropomorphic sponge cake in cowboy attire, is not designed to appeal to adults. Twinkie the Kid’s smiling visage has been a supermarket staple for decades and represents a deliberate strategy to increase the number of times your child asks you for the product. This is the ‘Tantrum Factor’ and is designed to embarrass you in public until you give in to your child’s demands.

The avenues for marketing have grown exponentially over the past 30 years and are no longer restricted to TV ads. Kids are now exposed to clever marketing via brand licensing, product placement, schools, stealth marketing, viral marketing, DVDs, games and internet. There’s a brand in front of your child’s face nearly every moment of every day.

Targeted marketing is necessary because few responsible parents will intentionally feed their child a disease-inducing diet of junk food. Sugary snacks play a huge role in the widening obesity plague. The manufacturers of these products manipulate children remorselessly to create customers for life. The lifespan and health of their valued customers is apparently not a major consideration. Nearly 40 percent of children's diets come from added sugars and unhealthy fats.

The fallout from the predatory marketing of junk food is staggering. One study from British researchers revealed that kids who ate a predominantly processed food diet at age 3 had lower IQ scores. Along with the potential for lowered IQ, a junk-food diet can also set the stage for asthma, eczema and a variety of allergies, inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases. In fact, most of the leading diseases plaguing the U.S. are diet-related, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Is it nostalgia alone that is driving the sales of Twinkies? They certainly are not a superfood. One Twinkie has almost 15 grams of sugar and is totally bereft of real nutritional value. Perhaps what consumers of Twinkies fail to understand is the damage caused by an occasional junk food indulgence? The impact is immediate and the consequences can be long-term. 

The vast maze of contradictory and often inaccurate diet information may be one reason that there is still a market for snacks like Twinkies. If you want to get your facts straight, my nutrition plan is an excellent starting point. The key to a healthy diet is to ditch processed junk entirely. Instead you should consume exclusively wholesome and nourishing whole foods. 
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