The most fattening fast food meals in South Africa

 ·15 Jun 2023

On top of an energy crisis, major economic headwinds and political uncertainty, South Africa is also facing an obesity crisis.

According to Action, in South Africa, approximately 31% of men, 68% of women and 13% of children between the ages of 6-14 years are overweight or obese.

More than 20 million of South African adults (over 50%) are overweight or obese.

Amidst the obesity crisis, The Department of Health has proposed changes to the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, including stricter labelling for unhealthy foods.

This will include large food label warnings for food items high in sugar and fat content – and to block these items from being marketed to children.

However, this legal amendment looks at pre-packaged foodstuff and not fast food, which has been a major contributor to South Africa’s obesity crisis.

According to researchers from Germany and Rhodes University, the proximity to fast food restaurants has led to a significant increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in South Africa’s population.

The researchers said that the rise in obesity is linked to a transition in nutrition to higher affordability and the consumption of highly-processed, unhealthy foods with high amounts of added sugar, fat and salt.

Due to the prevalence of obesity in South Africa, BusinessTech looked at the most fattening meals across South Africa’s most popular fast-food chains.

Numerous fast-food chains in South Africa do not share their nutritional information, and despite several attempts, including calls and emails, we could not get the nutritional information for the following fast-food chains:

  • Chicken Licken
  • Barcelo’s
  • Mochachos
  • Zebro’s Chicken
  • Panarottis
  • Rocomamas
  • Pizza Hut
  • Pizza Perfect

As per the available data, Debonairs’ Meaty Cram Decker is once again the most fattening meal fast-food meal available in South Africa, with 19,879kJ – more than double the recommended daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 8,700kJ.

Below are the most fattening meals at ten popular fast-food chains (and a bonus) in South Africa – including their fat, sodium and carbohydrate content.

NandosDouble Chicken Burger with any single side

The lightest offering on the list comes from Nando’s, with its Double Chicken Burger and any side offering, which will account for 51.71% of one’s RDA.

In April, as reported by EWN, Nando’s warned that consumers may not be able to order certain items on its menu, as load shedding is having an adverse effect on chicken supplies across the country.

Total kilojoules4 499.2
Fat (g)32
Carbohydrates (g)38,4
Sodium (mg)1 824

KFCDouble crunch burger meal

Like Nando’s, KFC benefits from focusing on chicken, which has lower calories and fat per serving compared to other proteins.

However, KFC’s most fattening meal – the Double crunch burger meal – still has 5392.4kJ, and its nearly 2500 mg of sodium is still quite high, even for this list.

Total kilojoules5 392.4 
Fat (g)65.5
Carbohydrates (g)37.9
Sodium (mg)2 465.1
RDA 61.98%

Fishaways – Platter for One (fried) with chips

For Fishaways, the most fattening item on its menu is the Platter For One with Chips. The meal includes a small hake, calamari strips, pop prawns, coleslaw, onion rings, rice & chips

The meal has 6,045.88 kilojoules and will contribute just under 70% of one’s RDA, however, no sodium content was provided for the meal.

Total kilojoules6 045.88
Fat (g)100.56
Carbohydrates (g)97.15
Protein (g)39.42

Wimpy – Fully Loaded Dagwood

Despite all the other meals on the list being designed for lunch or dinner, Wimpy’s most fattening meal is on the breakfast menu.

The Fully Loaded Dagwood – a double-patty and egg sandwich – will account for three-quarters of one’s RDA.

Total kilojoules6 604.7
Fat (g)87.6
Carbohydrates (g)80.4
Sodium (mg)3 074.2

Simply Asia Traditional Phad Thai Beef

The only item that has changed since last year, the Beef Traditional Phad Thai is now Simply Asia’s most fattening item.

Last year’s Honey Duck, which covered almost 8,000kJ, has been discontinued, with the new most-fattening offering having over 1,000kJ less.

Total kilojoules6 747.12
Fat (g)65.2
Carbohydrates (g)192.2
Sodium (mg)1 802.9

McDonald’sLarge McFeast Meal

The largest fast-food chain in the world by revenue entered the South African market in 1995s, and its local operations were briefly owned by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

On its current menu, the large McFeast meal is the most fattening item on the menu, accounting for 83.68% of one’s daily RDA.

Total kilojoules7 280.16
Fat (g)100.6
Carbohydrates (g)141.6
Sodium (mg)1 618

Burger King Texan BBQ Bacon 3.0 meal

Burger King’s most fattening item on its menu remains the Texan BBQ Bacon 3.0 meal, which has 7,507kJ.

The burger by itself has 6,789kJ, with a medium first and medium Pepsi max contributing the rest.

Total kilojoules7 507
Fat (g)111.2
Carbohydrates (g)99.2
Salt (g)0.2

Steers – Beef Mighty King Combo

Steer’s most fattening item is the Beef Mighty King Combo, which is the fattiest burger combo on the list – contributing just over 100% of one’s RDA.

The item also has the highest sodium content out of all items on this list.

Total kilojoules8 738.97
Fat (g)139.18
Carbohydrates (g)131.49
Sodium (mg)6 172.32

Roman’s Pizza – Chicken Mayo and Feta Pizza

The most fattening pizza for the locally-owned Roman’s Pizza is the Chicken Mayo and Feta, with 9,815kJ.

However, not all South Africans eat a full pizza in one sitting, and one slice of pizza only has 1,227kJ.

Total kilojoules9 815
Per slice 1 227
Fat (g)108.7
Carbohydrates (g)214.4
Sodium (mg)5059.6

Debonairs – Meaty Cram Decker

The most fattening meal on this list, easily doubling one’s RDA.

However, considering the sheer size of the pizza, it would be incredibly difficult for the average person to eat the whole thing by themselves, Debonairs saying that customers should share the pizza with their friends and family.

Per slice, one would only consume 2,484.97kJ – still more than a quarter of one’s RDA.

Total kilojoules19 879.83
Per slice (kJ)2 484.97
Fat (g)182.6
Carbohydrates (g)539.9
Sodium (mg)6 134.25

Bonus – Cinnabon Classic Pecan

Although not technically a fast food chain, Cinnabon is incredibly popular in South Africa, with stores in many malls across the country.

Its most fattening item is its Classic Pecan cinnamon roll, which has 4,560.56kJ.

Total kilojoules4 560.56
Fat (g)149
Carbohydrates (g)51
Sodium (mg)1 280

Read: The healthiest fast-food meals in South Africa

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