Military personnel generally under-consume n-3 fatty acids and over consume n-6 fatty acids. In a placebo-controlled, double-blinded study, we investigated whether a diet suitable for implementation in military dining facilities and civilian cafeterias could benefit n-3/n-6 fatty acid status of consumers.

Three volunteer groups were provided different diets for 10 weeks. Control (CON) participants consumed meals from the US Military's Standard Garrison Dining Facility Menu. Experimental, moderate (EXP-Mod) and experimental-high (EXP-High) participants consumed the same meals, but high n-6 fatty acid and low n-3 fatty acid containing chicken, egg, oils and food ingredients were replaced with products having less n-6 fatty acids and more n-3 fatty acids. The EXP-High participants also consumed smoothies containing 1000 mg n-3 fatty acids per serving, whereas other participants received placebo smoothies.

Plasma and erythrocyte EPA and DHA in CON group remained unchanged throughout, whereas EPA, DHA and Omega-3 Index increased in EXP-Mod and EXP-High groups, and were higher than in CON group after 5 weeks. After 10 weeks, Omega-3 Index in EXP-High group had increased further.

No participants exhibited changes in fasting plasma TAG, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, mood or emotional reactivity.

Replacing high linoleic acid (LA) containing foods in dining facility menus with similar high oleic acid/low LA and high n-3 fatty acid foods can improve n-6/n-3 blood fatty acid status after 5 weeks. The diets were well accepted and suitable for implementation in group feeding settings like military dining facilities and civilian cafeterias.