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Science Has Finally Caught Up With The Hallelujah Diet

The song says a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, but an Iowa State University scientist has published new research suggesting a spoonful of oil makes vegetables more nutritious.

A new study led by Wendy White, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition, shows that eating salad with added fat promotes the absorption of eight different micronutrients that promote human health. Conversely, eating the same salad without the added oil lessens the likelihood that the body will absorb the nutrients.

The study appeared recently in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and the results may ease the guilt of countless dieters who fret about adding dressing to their salads.

White’s study found added oil aided in the absorption of seven different micronutrients in salad vegetables. Those nutrients include four carotenoids — alpha and beta carotene, lutein and lycopene — two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K. The oil also promoted the absorption of vitamin A, the eighth micronutrient tracked in the study, which formed in the intestine from the alpha and beta carotene. The new study builds on previous research from White’s group that focused on alpha and beta carotene and lycopene.

White said better absorption of the nutrients promotes a range of health benefits, including cancer prevention and eyesight preservation.

The study also found that the amount of oil added to the vegetables had a proportional relationship with the amount of nutrient absorption. That is, more oil means more absorption.

“The best way to explain it would be to say that adding twice the amount of salad dressing leads to twice the nutrient absorption,” White said.

That doesn’t give salad eaters license to drench their greens in dressing, she cautioned. But she said consumers should be perfectly comfortable with the U.S. dietary recommendation of about two tablespoons of oil per day.

The study included 12 college-age women who consumed salads with various levels of soybean oil, a common ingredient in commercial salad dressings. The subjects then had their blood tested to measure the absorption of nutrients. Women were chosen for the trial due to differences in the speed with which men and women metabolize the nutrients in question.

The results showed maximal nutrient absorption occurred at around 32 grams of oil, which was the highest amount studied, or a little more than two tablespoons. However, White said she found some variability among the subjects.

“For most people, the oil is going to benefit nutrient absorption,” she said. “The average trend, which was statistically significant, was for increased absorption.”

So a spoonful or two of healthy salad dressing may indeed help you derive the optimal nutritional benefit from your veggies.

We aren’t proponents of soybean oil for various reasons, two of them include: most soy is genetically modified and that type of soy acts as a form of estrogen to the body which nearly everyone will find detrimental to their health.

The oil we suggest would come in the form of avocado, olive, coconut and grapeseed oils.

While this is a new study, our Director of Research Michael Donaldson, PhD, recommended to us 10 years ago, that consuming our BarleyMax with our meals would actually enhance the absorption of the nutrients since our meal would likely contain some fat.  It appears that science has finally caught up with Hallelujah Diet!

The phrase “A spoonful of sugar and the medicine goes down”, however, has no credibility as sugar has been proven to be harmful to the body so if it were added to medicine, then the negative synergy would likely prove even more deadly.

Journal Reference:

  1. Wendy S White, Yang Zhou, Agatha Crane, Philip Dixon, Frits Quadt, Leonard M Flendrig. Modeling the dose effects of soybean oil in salad dressing on carotenoid and fat-soluble vitamin bioavailability in salad vegetablesThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2017; 106 (4): 1041 DOI: 3945/%u200Bajcn.117.153635


  1. Carolyn B, Calhoun October 11, 2017

    It’s good to know I can enjoy my salads even more…thanks for the information regarding the oils needed in our bodies

  2. Connie Gesser October 12, 2017

    I did not realize that the reason soy has a negative effect (mimics estrogen) on the body is because it is genetically modified.

    It is good to know that healthy fat helps the body absorb nutrition from our foods.

  3. Melody Hord October 13, 2017

    FAT IS FABULOUS. It makes food taste better. It helps a person feel satisfied. Our cells need fat. That is why I am opposed to the diets that tell us to cut out fat. Unrefined oils are great on salads, steamed vegetables, quinoa, rice, potatoes and more. Nuts and seeds are another way to incorporate healthy fats on salads.

    • Is there really such a thing as unrefined oils?

      • Melody Hord October 20, 2017

        To learn all about oils, the book “Fats that Heal Fats that Kill” is a wealth of knowledge. When I purchase oils that have been labeled “Unrefined”, they taste like the item they came from. They are delicious and do not taste rancid or flavorless. I LOVE the brand Flora. Hallelujah Diet carries their Flax Oil. Their pumpkin seed oil is so delicious, I could drink it. It is dark green. These oils are produced and bottled in a meticulous manner to maintain freshness and nutritional content.

  4. Good information to know about when we sat to eat our salads. There is some great salad dressings we can make with good oils.

  5. Angela Solomon October 17, 2017

    Thank you for this article, good to know we can eat our salads and have healthy fats drizzled on top!

  6. Mary Beth October 18, 2017

    Am I understanding correctly that it is now recommended that we drink our Barley Max with meals? I’ve believed for a long time that we should take it on an empty stomach. I have been thinking that fiber reduces the benefits of the Barley Max. Can someone straighten me out on this? Thanks.

    • Melody Hord October 20, 2017

      Hi Mary Beth, when BarleyMax is consumed with meals, the fat from the meal will help with absorption of fat soluble nutrients. If you drink it between meals, adding a tsp. of flax oil or eating a few seeds or nuts along with the BarleyMax will have the same effect.

  7. Suzanne Almosara October 20, 2017

    Excellent information! I so appreciate how your researchers are always on top of things. It really establishes great trust between Hallelujah Acres, Health Ministers and their customers.

  8. I would not be promoting oils. Healthy fats from food to put on salads, yes. Make dressings with nuts and seeds and avocados but not oils. See Esselstyn, McDougall, Barnard to learn about the effects of oils on arteries! Not to mention the calorie density of oil!

  9. Melody Hord November 3, 2017

    There is a great book called, “the Blue Zones Solution, Eating and Living like the World’s Healthiest People”, by Dan Buettner. It studies 5 of the healthiest and longest living cultures in the world, through a team of leading medical researchers, anthropologist, dietitians, demographers, and epidemiologist as well as collaborating with local researchers who were studying centurions, and interviewing a representative sample of 90 and 100 year olds in all 5 areas. They put together what these groups ate. It is very fascinating to see. In Ikarai, Greece and Sardinia, the people enjoy olive oil.

  10. Caving to the ways of the world Hallelujah Acres, if you think that this one study wipes out all of the other studies done to prove that adding processed fat into meals is damaging to one’s health. People love to hear good news about their bad habits. God didn’t have Adam and Eve eating vegetables from the garden with processed oil drizzled on top. He already put the nutrients necessary inside of the foods in their natural state. If you want to encourage having fat with a healthy salad type meal, beyond the fat content already in the produce itself, why not suggest small amounts of unprocessed foods as avocado, nuts, seeds, olives? Dr Esselstyn, Dr Dean Ornish, Dr Neal Barnard, Dr John McDougall, just to name a few, have an amazingly large quantity of research results mentioned in all of their books, videos, websites, to back up why eating oils is not a healthy choice. They also mention that adding in healthy fats, in more than small amounts, especially when one is dealing with heart disease, diabetes, and other life-threatening ailments, is not a wise or healthy choice.

    • Melody Hord October 4, 2019

      Hi i,
      There are a lot of studies and they can be conflicting.
      A strong argument FOR oils is in, “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest”. We learn about the cultures with the most centenarians. Please notice those who live a long full life who consume lots of extra virgin olive oil.

  11. Jennifer July 29, 2021

    Thanks for the information. It’s great to know oil can increase our nutrient absorption.

  12. Annette Whitworth September 1, 2021

    This was some good information to read. I did not realize that oil can increase out nutrient absorption. This was a great statement that stood out with me “that consuming our BarleyMax with our meals would actually enhance the absorption of the nutrients since our meal would likely contain some fat. ” I love eating barley max and I didnot know I could eat it with my meals. Thanks again

  13. Cora mathis September 15, 2021

    I have a heart condition and have tried to lose weight but have not been successful I would like to learn about the hallelujah diet i would like to learn how to make it a part of my daily routine

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