Research indicates that dietary omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are important in reducing the risk of mental illness. We used the DoD Survey of Health Related Behaviors among Active Duty Military Personnel (HRBS) to assess current military dietary patterns and meal locations. We used the Lands Equation to model PUFAs in a sample Garrison diet and the nutritional impact of substitution of foods higher in omega-3 PUFAs and lower in omega-6 PUFAs on tissue composition.

The military diet was very poor quality compared to 2010 Healthy People Guidelines. A representative Garrison diet does not meet our estimated healthy n-3 HUFA intake at 3.5 g/d, corresponding with a tissue composition of 60% n-3 in HUFA (i.e., 40% n-6 in HUFA).

Substitution of n-3 rich eggs, poultry, pork and other food commodities, combined with use on low linoleic acid oils, may contribute significantly to attaining healthier n-6/n-3 proportions in the tissue.

PMID: 25373102