Research Article

The haggis tolerance test in Scots and Sassenachs.

BMJ 1988; 297 doi: (Published 24 December 1988) Cite this as: BMJ 1988;297:1632
  1. A. G. Fraser,
  2. A. Rees,
  3. S. Matthews,
  4. G. T. Williams
  1. Departments of Cardiology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.


    To find out if the Scottish national dish, haggis, contributes to the high incidence of coronary heart disease in Scotland the lipaemic effect of a meal of 200 g of haggis was measured in six Scottish and 10 Sassenach men. The Scots had higher fasting cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations and a lower proportion of high density lipoprotein cholesterol than the Sassenachs. Four subjects were found to have hyperlipoproteinaemia, which had been unrecognised previously. Serum cholesterol concentrations did not change after haggis was eaten (mean dose 2.6 g/kg body weight). Serum concentrations of triglycerides increased by 51% at 90 minutes in the Sassenachs but were unaltered in the Scots. There were no serious adverse effects. This study shows that Scots have higher lipid concentrations than Sassenachs but seem to be resistant to the lipaemic effect of haggis. The haggis tolerance test may be useful in Sassenachs.