Ask Dr. Dumb: Should Runners Eat Peeps?

Happy Easter!

If you're anything like us, Easter means several things: Ham. Easter egg hunts. That colored plastic "grass" that gets everywhere. There's also a religious component to Easter, we think. It's escaping us at the moment.

Anyway, Easter also means Peeps. Or, more accurately, PEEPS® Brand Marshmallow Candies. The neon-colored and multi-flavored treats appear magically each spring, staring right at you with dead eyes from store shelves everywhere.

"Hello," they seem to say. "We're back. There is no escape."

What does the reappearance of these chilling confections mean for runners? To find out, we turned to our resident yellow dye #5 expert, Dr. Dumb.

Dumb Runner: Should runners eat these things, or what?
Dr. Dumb: Runners can eat Peeps if they want. I wouldn't recommend it, though.

Why's that?
Because they taste like fire-retardant foam. 

How do you know what fire-retardant foam tastes like?
Bar bet.

What are Peeps, exactly?
Like many words in popular use today, Peep began as an acronym. Originally it stood for Pliable Elastic Extruded Polymer.

Oh yes. After World War II, U.S. manufacturers had to pivot from supplying the American war effort to producing everyday consumer goods. They also had a vast unused inventory of this Pliable Elastic Extruded Polymer—i.e., PEEP. We aren't sure who first had the idea to shape the stuff into crude chicks dipped in sugar. But once that happened, we had Peeps. They were an instant hit. 

Why were they popular, if they taste like fire-retardant foam?
Initially American consumers bought Peeps from a sense of duty and patriotism. No one actually tried eating them. Eventually, purchasing them became habit.

What are the ingredients of modern-day Peeps?
We assume the ingredients are listed on the package, but good luck finding them on the official website. All you'll find there is this: "The wonderful combination of sweet colored sugar and fluffy marshmallow creates an unforgettable taste experience."

Isn't "sweet sugar" redundant?
Well, they don't mean actual sugar. That's a reference to another WWII-era product—Simulated Universal Glucose Additive, Refined. That stuff is very cheap to make, but very bitter. So they have to sweeten it.

And this "taste experience" they refer to?
It's "unforgettable" all right. I'll give them that.

So Peeps aren't a smart choice for, say, long-run nutrition? Are they really all that different from energy chews?
They are totally different. Energy chews have, umm... electrolytes. It's what runners crave. That said, you could try eating Peeps on long runs. They have calories and stuff. But, you know, there's the whole "fire-retardant foam" thing.

What should a runner do if friends offer her Peeps this Easter?
Take the Peeps, to be polite. Then create a distraction to provide cover as you feed them to the nearest dog.

That seems harsh. 
I meant feed the Peeps to the dog. Not the friend.

Ah. Well, thank you for your time, doctor.
You're welcome. Happy Easter.