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Even Dietitians Have a Vice (Bidding Adieu to Ho-Hos)

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If you recently thought you heard some strange, frantic scream coming from the direction of southeastern Indiana, you were right. Your ears were not deceiving you.  It was me, Dietitian Becky, mourning the death of my dear friend, the Ho-Hos.  I am not the only one in mourning. In fact, nutrition professor and food activist Marion Nestle is doing the same

It was actually my teenage son who informed me recently of this crisis. He keeps me up-to-date on most of the tragedies of the world.  ''Hey, Mom,'' he asked, ''What are you going to do without your Ho-Hos?'' 

''Without my Ho-Hos?  What the heck are you talking about?'' I responded.

If you haven’t heard, Hostess Brands is in deep financial trouble, closing plants, and wants to sell off its brands. It has been reported that more than 18,500 people will lose their jobs and full liquidation is expected since mediation with the striking bakers’ union has failed.   Bye-bye Twinkies, so long Ho-Hos, sayonara Sno Balls! 

While there isn’t a package of these Hostess products currently in my pantry and I didn't storm the supermarket the way others have, they have been known to appear from time to time.  

While I was never a fan of the golden sponge cake with creamy filling known as Twinkies, I adored those cylindrical, frosted, cream-filled cakes. As a child, these Ho-Hos were not found in my Flintstones lunch box often--mom said they were too expense and she made cookies weekly for my school lunch treat.  However, on special occasions, those Ho-Hos would show up to brighten my school day.  Heck, yes, I would get requests to trade, but nothing was worth giving up my Ho-Hos.  Except when I entered fourth grade and would share one (just one!) of the Ho-Hos with my beau, Terry.

Today, as a Registered Dietitian, I really can’t report much nutritional value of these Hostess goodies. But they do teach perhaps another lesson (or two)! 

You will see my comments on the SparkPeople message board that ''calories are king'' as demonstrated by researcher Mark Haub, a professor of nutrition at Kansas State University. He went on a calorie-controlled, weight-loss diet using primarily Twinkies, Ho-Hos, and Ding-Dongs and lost 27 pounds in 2 months.  Thus termed the ''Twinkie Diet,'' his experiment made national news and provided evidence that you can eat anything and lose weight if you stay at a calorie deficit. 

On a more positive note, Hostess Brands truly did epitomize portion control and building friendships. The size of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, and Ding-Dongs has remained constant over the years and the goodies are often packed two to a package--allowing you one to keep and one to give away.  Eating one is a mere 120-150 calories, a far cry from the 500-calorie monster muffins and colossal cookies of today.

I am sure that potential bidders are already scheming to obtain the Hostess Brands dirt cheap.  However, if I was asked to design the gravestone of Hostess it would read something like this:
Hostess Brands
Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, Sno-Balls…

1930s – 2012
A sweet, creamy friend to many who truly understood portion control!
Sweet Memories, May You Rest In Peace!
How have the Hostess Brands touched your life?  Any fond memories or sweet stories?

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Ewww... frankenfood. Never had Hostess products growing up (health nut parents) and never eat them now or buy them for my daughter. Of course I have had most varieties before... the nasty dry doughnuts, the sickly sweet Twinkies, the waxy DingDongs... not impressed. In fact the first time my daughter tasted a Twinkie was when my then-boyfriend bought one a year ago (she's almost 10 years old). Not sad to see this brand go. Yuck. Report
Going to miss the Cup Cakes. Peel off the top frosting first, stick my finger in to lick out the filling, and then eat the rest. Now, that was heaven. Sigh...... Report
I can't say I've been much of a fan of Ho-Ho's or Twinkies, but I LOVE Funny Bones. Too sweet for me now, but they were still nice as an occasional treat.

At the moment with Hostess drowning, the company that my dad works for is "throwing them a life saver" and has a bid in on the company. I'm hoping they get it. It'd be nice for him to start bringing me some Funny Bones home instead of the usual chocolate chip cookies, multi-grain bars, and pound cakes. I love the danish he gets, but they're such a rare treat. (Won't someone knock over a bakers rack of those, please!) Report
I am so feeling your pain home gave me a chuckle! Report
Now there was me thinking that good nutrition was king. What a dummy I must be! Report
I remember in 6th grade I would take 2 twinkies to school & give 1 to the teacher (he was the only friend I had) & keep the other 1 but it wasn't often. Report
Lucky that I don't like junk food, they all taste like chemicals to me but you make a very good point I have not thought of. Their portion size stayed the same through all those years. They will be replaced by some company but only bigger and more calorie laden. Report
Like yours, my mom would only buy Twinkies occasionally as a treat because they were too expensive. But oh, how I loved them! Strangely enough, I never bought them as an adult and my kids barely know what they are. But if you handed one to me now, I'd eat it and enjoy every creamy bite! Report
I grew up in Mass and when I was a kid my mom would go to the factory in Framingham. (You know the same one they went to on an episode of Family Guy) She would by the pies for my dad's lunch. If we were lucky she would by some cupcakes or devil dogs for my sister and I to have in our lunches. Ah the smell of that Wonderbread baking..... Report
I'd have to say, I never really cared for them. Not fond of Little Debbies either. Great, I guess. Now stick a chocolate cake donut in front of me or a brownie w/out icing and I'm a goner. :)

rumbamel Report
I'm saddened over the end of my Drakes Yankee Doodles and Devil Dogs. I grew up in the NE but moved. They don't sell it out here in the midwest, but when I get a chance to go back it is on my nostalgia food list. The only thing I really liked from Hostess was the coffee cake but it has been so many years since I had one. They used to have 100-calorie packs but I have not seen it in stores for some time and wondered if it was that popular or not. Report
We had Drakes cakes in my house. But was not a fan of store bought junk food. My mom made things from scratch and that just tasted so much better. I can live without Hostess but I pray these workers can find jobs very soon. Sorry to hear about the jobs lost. :( Report
I'm a drakes cake fan: devil dogs, crumb cake. That's what happens when you're born in New York. Wasn't ever a real twinkies, ho ho fans. But, I feel for all of you!! Report
I ate a lot of Hostess Cupcakes when I was growing up. Seems like it was nothing but GREED by the executives running the company that put 17,000 workers out of their jobs, as they took HUGE bonuses before they went broke. Sad. Report
Suzy Qs were my gateway to weight gain and chocolate allergy. Report
This is so sad, I totally loved the hohos, and when I lived in CT I was a Drakes cake nut!!! they had this one called Funny Bones(chocolate cake w/peanut butter filling) Oh I wish I could have one now!! and the ho ho equivalent was a "yodel" loved those too. Good Stuff!! Report
Hostess is my default.... What will I do now?????? Report
I agree with Chris; the baker's union has become a really convenient scapegoat. As the company was "going under because of the unions", the CEO gave himself a 300% raise, while the union previously took a big pay and benefits cut. The company was ridden with so much debt that the union had been advised that even if they took an even bigger hit, about a year from now, Hostess would tank again.

With that said, I did like Hostess products and I hope that those workers can be redistributed to new positions in a new Hostess company basically, so they have work and we have Ding Dongs. :) Report
As a teenager in highschool, I ate Hostess choc cupcakes (with the white squiggle on top) every single day--along with a bag of potato chips!! It was lunchtime heaven;---and I was pencil slim-- lol
I loved Twinkies too, but chocolate was favorite! So sad to see so many folks losing jobs. Little Debbies offer "Hostess like" treats. Report
I was never a big fan of Twinkies, although I tried the chocolate ones when they came out. The chocolate creme reminded me of the filling that Dunkin Donuts used to use in their chocolate filled donuts that I really liked. My favorite Hostess snack was Suzy Qs. The trick was to lick out enough filling so it didn't squirt out when you bit into them. Years later, when I moved to Pennsylvania, I discovered whoopie pies which are much the same thing. What I'm going to miss most now is the Wonder Smart Wheat bread. Tasty and only 100 calories for 2 slices. I'll also miss being able to get my bread at the Hostess store. They had it for half the price as the grocer's. Report
I'm a HUGE fan of Zingers--the chocolate and vanilla ones but I don't think those are Hostess... Report
Not much of a hostess person! Out of sight out of mind I guess! If a ding dong was infront of me though do not think I wouldn't eat it! Report
What are Ho ho's? I've had those delicious little cupcakes before and I've heard of twinkies but not ho ho's! Report
Not to worry. The hedge funds and other financial entities that actually own Hostess had already been negotiating to sell the recipes and branding for quite some time, so the HoHo's probably won't be out of reach for all that long. They really only wanted the workers to straggle on for another year or less so that their investors could get more money in the inevitable eventual selloff. The bakery union did us all a service by shooting a corporate horse with 3 broken legs. My DH's last day will probably be later this week. Sayonara and good riddance, Hostess Brands/Interstate Brands.

As to Mark Haub's experiment, an n=1 diet only speaks to what works for that person's unique biochemistry. Let's try that same experiment on 1000 people and see if it's still just about calories alone? Report
OMG!,,Are you kidding? Hey, just buy up a truckload of these little chemical-laden pseudo foods... They'll last for generations if you don't eat them all first. No refrigeration required. Years from now they'll look good as new just sitting in your cupboard. Moderation? If you're freaking out because they're on the extinct list, then I detect a slight issue here.

I always liked the cake, but never the 'cream'. Ick, fake. Although one of my favourite memories from my childhood is eating twinkies and drinking OJ with my dad, at 3am, in the lobby of the hotel we were staying at because we were still on NZ time. Good times. Report
I never was much a fan of the Twinkies, though I did have some when I was quite a bit younger. My fave was Susie-Qs, which I would stop and get each time I was going to my dog's herding training. Recently they were hard to find, so I haven't had any for quite a while. I guess if I get a craving I will have to make devils food cake with whipped cream in it. Report
I haven't eaten them in years and years, but Ding Dongs were a special treat for my family when I was an adolescent. They didn't make an appearance around our house very often, but when they did (picnics, etc.) it was really special. Report
I'm going to miss Devil Dogs! :( Report
The deal is struck for death-food junkies: Hostess found a buyer,, so now US citizens can be assured to cram yet more preservatives into their bodies,,,, Report
As a European I don't really 'get' the sentimentality over certain brands of junkfood... Report
Even now as a "responsible" adult I've been known to toss a box of Hostess treats in the shopping cart now and then. They are tasty, and really there are so many worse things out there! I too have fond childhood memories of Hostess. (and Mickey too.) Little Debbie knock-offs are "ok" but cannot compare to real Hostess treats. I heard that Tastykakes is interested in buying them out and continuing production. Hope it's true! Report
As kids, we received .25 cents per week as allowance. We would put our quarters together and have a party which always included ho-hos! A total sugar fix including pixie stix, atomic balls and lemonheads....! I dont miss them...but I do have fond memories:-) Report
Suppose I have eaten them at some time of my life, but sure can't remember, so I won't miss them at all.
But this was a great blog, Becky! I truly enjoyed! Report
Eat Little Debbies Swiss Cake Rolls instead. They are even better! Report
The Chew TV show has posted a recipe for Twinkies Report
Thanks for the great blog. Report
Wow, I had not heard about the man who'd gone on the Twinkie diet, I bet he was so sick! Glad he survived it. After seeing the documentary "Supersize Me", I guess I shouldn't be surprised that copycat diets of only eating one thing, at one restaurant or eating only one brand of food have been tried and publicized. I going to check out the Twinkie guy study.. Thanks for sharing! Report
As a kid, it was Drakes, not Hostess, who ruled in my universe. Ring-dings...I still remember the commercial, and the jingle--and that's over 50 years ago.

Now any of those kinds of product don't even smell good to me--the sugary reek and the scent of the artificial--but I remember, oh yes, I remember. Report
I haven't eaten Hostess products for a while; however, I will greatly miss the Wonder 80 calorie whole wheat hamburger and hot dog buns. I can't find anything that is a close substitute. There are companies that are willing to jump in and continue the Hostess products but I fear my healthy hamburger buns are a thing of the past. Report
I too will miss the hostess products. I have eaten my share of twinkes, hohos, cupcakes, ding dongs, suzi Q's, and the cherry pies. I haven't had any to speak of in the last 4 years since I retired. Something about seeing them in the vending machines and of course they always look good when sonemone else is eating one The hoho's were my favorite all time and I would be amazed to see all I have eaten over the years. I enjoyed every single bite--sugar is addicting. I didn't run out and get any of the sweet treats, why---I didn't believe it could happen. I too don't blame the unions, people have to make a living. I have had my share of hostess sweet treats and then some. Report
Thank you for the reminder that we are all human and it is all about portion control, not deprivation. Report
I didn't eat Hostess anything regularly, till I got married 4 years ago. My new husband is a Twinkie addict and because they were always in the house I'm afraid I was starting to become one too... Now there is one left in the last box. Don't know how long he'll save it (maybe his birthday). It's a terrible thing, but I'm just happy that there is one less temptation before me!!! Report
I was surprised when a recipe given on NBC's Today Show said the Twinkie can be made with a pound cake.I had thought of it as being an angel food cake........anyway the demise of the twinkie did not stop my world from turning but I must say the Ho-Ho's are very good...........very bad, but none the less, very good. Report
Now, really - who *gives away* those kinds of things, huh? :) Report
I've always been a huge fan of Susie Q's. More recently, I would buy the 100 calorie packs until I realized they may only be 100 calories but it was 100 calories of pure cr@p.

One of my best friends is losing his job of 18 years as a mechanic for Hostess. He hasn't been happy in his job for a long time because of how poorly the company has been managed. Report
We used to split the twinkies as my mom and dad felt that was too much sugar for one kid. My fav is the ding dongs! After all, it's a good thing, however, someone will come along to continue ther tradition! Fond memories. Report
We didn't have them often as kids. They were an occaisional treat. Mother mostly baked our goodies from scratch. Don't have them often even now. Every now and then I would still have one of the chocolate cupcakes. Report
Hostess Sno-Balls are my 96-year-old Father's FAVORITE treat!
We have to ration them out to him or he would eat a WHOLE BOX in a day !
In fact, he HAS!
BLESSINGS, All ! Report