South Africans love their fast-food, so much so that we’ve eaten our way to becoming one of the most obese nations in the world.
The Lancet issued research by the Global Burden of Disease in 2014 listing the obesity ratings of 188 countries across the globe – and South Africa ranked highly, as one of the most obese nations.
According to the research report, 38.8% of all men over the age of 20 are considered overweight and obese – of these, 13.5% are categorised as obese.
For women, the figures are even worse – with 69.3% of women over the age of 20 considered overweight and obese, of which 42% obese.
While these are not the highest stats in the world (an ‘honour’ which belongs to nations such as the USA, and Mexico) this does make South Africa by far the fattest country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Fast food, fatty meals
One of the most commonly cited reasons for South African’s growing obesity problem is the ‘westernisation’ and urbanisation of the population.
Fast-paced urban lifestyles don’t leave much room for physical activity, and increasingly put people into contact with fast-food, which often carries high fat, sugar and salt content.
While bodies vary, based on normal BMI the average man should ingest around 2,400 Calories (or kilocalories) a day, and the average woman around 2,000 Calories.
These meals listed below are the most fattening items from a number of popular South African fast-food chains which, in some cases, could fill the recommended daily intake (RDI) quota in one meal.
BusinessTech counts the calories of some of South Africa’s most loved fast-food meals.
Family-favourite, Wimpy has many high-calorie meals that exceed the double bacon and cheese burger, but grills and steaks are more for sit-in than fast-food take-away.
|Double Bacon and cheese burger|
|Saturated fat||22.3 g|
|% of RDI||35%|
Hawaiian-themed and health-focused Kauai offers many healthy meals and fitness-ready smoothies – but the chain’s peanut butter bomb (loaded with extra whey protein) isn’t shy to pack on the bulk.
|Peanut butter bomb (650ml)|
|Saturated fat||6 g|
|% of RDI||38%|
(Note: As of June 2015, the Peanut Butter Bomb is no longer sold in 650ml portions, with 500ml being the largest size. The new nutritional value of this size is 503 kcal, or 2,107 kJ)
While the famed King Steer Burger (at 655 Calories), the chain’s double rack of ribs and medium chips menu option dethrones it as the heaviest offer.
|Double rack of beef ribs and chips|
|Saturated fat||30.0 g|
|% of RDI||51%|
Nando’s, with its flame-grilled chicken is often touted as the healthier route to the deep-fried delights of KFC – but its half-chicken and wedges meal (up-sized of course), still packs a punch.
|Half chicken and large wedges|
|Saturated fat||15.3 g|
|% of RDI||51%|
KFC’s Wicked Zinger box meal comes packed with a burger, Zinger wings, chips, mash and a coke. It is the heaviest meal for one on offer, if you can accept that no single person can finish a 3,665 Calorie 21-piece bucket all on their own.
|Wicked Zinger Box meal|
|Saturated fat||20.5 g|
|% of RDI||69%|
New old-comer to South Africa’s fast-food scene, Burger King had people literally queuing for hours to get their hands on its Whopper burger. Of course, it’s the chain’s Big King XXL burger meal – packing 955 Calories for the burger alone- which takes the prize.
|Big King XXL meal|
|% of RDI||70%|
McDonald’s has received massive criticism for its high-fat meals over the years – and rightly so. The company’s biggest bite in South Africa takes the shape of a 865 Calorie McFeast Deluxe burger. Slap on the super-size chips and soda, and we’re looking at a 2,000 Calorie meal.
|McFeast Deluxe XL meal|
|Saturated fat||43.2 g|
|% of RDI||94%|
Roman’s Pizza is a popular pizza take-out spot thanks in large part to its double-pizza prices. The chain sells its pizzas in twos, with both thin and thick base options. Technically you could double the information below, if you ate both pizzas on your own.
|Chicken n’ Mayo & Feta Pizza – Large (pan base)|
|Calories||2,311 kcal (288 kcal per slice)|
|Saturated fat||51.2 g|
|% of RDI||105%|
It should come as no surprise that a pizza chain would take the top spot on this list – particularly when that pizza chain is Debonairs, which offers stuffed crusts, sausage-stuffed bases and, yes, the triple stack pizza.
|Triple Decker Meat Pizza – Large|
|Calories||2,763 kcal (345 kcal per slice)|
|Saturated fat||68.1 g|
|% of RDI||126%|
Bonus – Cinnabon
While not technically a fast-food chain, Cinnabon has made a name for itself as being one of the heaviest pieces of doughy heaven you could ingest. One Cinnabon measures roughly the size of a fist, and accounts for half your RDI.
|Caramel Pecan Cinnabon|
|Saturated fat||20 g|
|% of RDI||49%|