Honors Program

Honors in Nutrition

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

W. Andrew Clark

Thesis Professor Department

<--College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences-->

Thesis Reader(s)

Mary Andreae


In westernized culture, there is a deficit of healthy fats in the average person’s diet. Decreased intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been correlated to many different conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic inflammatory issues. The “Mediterranean Diet” has been proposed as an ideal way to combat these issues. This diet promotes fish as a protein source and as a way to increase intake of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids. Due to location and dietary trends, fish is less often the main component of Northeast Tennessee's diet. This study investigated ways to fortify a more commonly consumed food in western culture, marinara sauce, with flaxseed oil, walnut oil, or anchovies. These fortified marinara sauces were compared to a commercial sauce, Paul Newman’s Marinara. We hypothesized that adding omega-3 rich ingredients to a base marinara sauce recipe will significantly vary the fatty acid profile and increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids and decrease the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio. Marinara sauces were prepared and analyzed using proximate analysis methods to evaluate each variant sauce for macronutrient distribution. Preparation included cooking, freeze-drying, and grinding the variants into a fine powder. The tests that we performed included: bomb calorimetry, Kjeldahl protein analysis, Soxhlet fat analysis, ash/mineral analysis, FRAP Assay of antioxidant content, and gas chromatography to characterize fatty acid profiles. The focus of our proximate analysis was investigating the fatty acid composition to answer our main research question. Other tests conducted allowed us to understand better the nutrient composition of the 3 variants for possible future studies. The three variants showed a better omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio than the Paul Newman’s sauce. Samples with the highest to lowest omega-6 to omega-3 ratio were Paul Newman's Marinara, Anchovies, Walnut Oil, Flaxseed Oil, respectively. Gas chromatography showed different concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids as (% area under the curve): flaxseed oil (32.42%), walnut oil (7.637%), anchovies (3.018%), and Paul Newman’s Marinara (1.599%). All three variant sauces, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and anchovy, compared to the commercial Paul Newman's sauce, had better omega-3 fatty acid content and lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. In conclusion, simple additions of omega-3 ingredients to marinara sauce could decrease the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the diet.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.