South Africa’s most fattening beers, wine, cocktails and shooters

Irrespective on where you stand on the fat vs carbs debate on weight loss and health, most people agree that alcohol is a big no-no if you’re serious about losing weight.

While some drinks – such as a glass of wine with dinner – have shown to be beneficial to one’s health, typically the booze we drink while out with friends or watching the game at home on the weekend, does us no favours around the belly.

South Africa has some of the heaviest drinkers in the world, with the World Health Organisation ranking it 29th in terms of litres of alcohol consumed per capita.

According to the WHO, South Africans consume 11 litres of alcohol a year, spread across the entire population. When looking at only those who actually consume alcohol, this shoots up to 27.1 litres – far higher than some of the biggest drinking nations.

Read: The world’s biggest drinking nations

Research has shown that people who drink a lot will struggle to shed weight, and over the long term are more likely to gain weight. While scientist are hesitant to state it outright, there are clear links between heavy drinking and obesity.

While by no means the only factor, South Africa’s penchant for getting boozed up is, at the very least, helping the country maintain its crown as the fattest nation in Africa.

So how much are your favourite drinks adding to your daily intake?

The average daily kilojoule intake for an adult is around 8,700 kJ (though this varies based on many physical and metabolic differences).

In most cases, assuming you only have one drink, an alcoholic beverage accounts for 6% to 8% of that number, which isn’t too bad.

However, if you are one of the country’s binge drinkers that make up 36% of the drinking population, a whole bottle of wine would hit you for almost 30% of your daily requirement, and a six-pack of beer would wipe off almost 40%.

BusinessTech has compiled a non-exhaustive list of 20 of South African booze favourites – including beers, ciders and coolers – and what a single bottle of these drinks is adding to your daily intake.

Carling Black Label
Carling Black Label
Drink Alcohol % kJ per bottle
Windhoek Light 2.4% 300 kJ
Castle Light 4.0% 413 kJ
Hansa Pilsner 4.5% 445 kJ
Windhoek Lager 4.0% 501 kJ
Heineken 5.0% 545 kJ
Castle Lager 5.0% 545 kJ
Peroni 5.1% 545 kJ
Carling Black Label 5.5% 545 kJ
Savanna Light 3.0% 552 kJ
Pilsner Urquell 4.4% 578 kJ
Jack Black Lager 5.0% 628 kJ
Brutal Fruit 4.5% 674 kJ
Redd’s Original 4.5% 678 kJ
Savanna Dry 6.0% 690 kJ
Sarita 5.5% 726 kJ
Smirnoff Spin 5.0% 747 kJ
Savanna Dark 6.0% 753 kJ
Hunters Gold 4.5% 762 kJ
Hunters Dry 5.5% 785 kJ
Redd’s Bold 5.5% 858 kJ

South Africans are also big wine drinkers – while the total kilojoule count for wines will vary depending on the make and type, typically wines are around 500 kJ per 150ml glass.

Sugary cocktails and shooters are some of the worst offenders when it comes to mounting on the kilojoules, though.

For example, a classic Mojito or a strawberry daiquiri can amount to over 1,000 kJs – as a start – and can stretch even further depending on the size of the drink.

1,000 kJ has never looked so refreshing
1,000 kJ has never looked so refreshing

The kilojoules listed below are for one ‘jigger’ – a bartending metric that’s about 45ml – of each spirit. In South Africa a shot is typically measured as 25ml, so the numbers below reflect just about a double shot.

It’s worth noting that most of the spirits below are mixed with other drinks (like colas or juices or in cocktails) so they often exceed far past the kilojoules listed.

Drink Alcohol % kJ per jigger (45ml)
Jaegermeister 34.0% 320 kJ
Vodka 40.0% 405 kJ
Tequila 40.0% 405 kJ
Rum 40.0% 405 kJ
Brandy 40.0% 435 kJ
Whiskey 40.0% 440 kJ
Gin 40.0% 460 kJ
Amarula 17.0% 670 kJ

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South African kids are some of the fattest in the world

One in four South Africans are obese: research

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South Africa’s most fattening beers, wine, cocktails and shooters