Are You Eating Enough Mustard?


In the US, mustard is big business – sales are around $300 million a year. But this is not as high as ketchup sales, estimated at over $500 million annually. We’d like to see the numbers even out, because from a nutrition perspective, mustard has more to offer or, actually – less, less sugar than ketchup, less fat than mayonnaise.

A bit of background:

Mustard is made from the ground seeds of a mustard plant, water, vinegar, and optionally some flavorings and spices. In ancient times, the Romans mixed unfermented grape juice, known as must, with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make “burning must”, mustum ardens. That’s the source of the name “mustard”.

Yellow mustard (a.k.a. regular mustard) is most popular in the US. The rest of the world calls it American mustard. It is a very mild mustard colored bright yellow due to the use of turmeric. George T. French introduced it to the US in 1904, over 100 years ago, betting that Americans would prefer milder tasting mustard than what was available.

Dijon mustard uses white wine in addition to vinegar. Although Dijon mustard originated in Dijon, France, there is no limitation on the use of “Dijon” for mustard manufactured in the US as well. Honey mustard is simply a blend of mustard and honey, used as a sandwich topping, dip, marinade, or in salad dressings.

The ingredients of French’s Yellow Mustard, Classic -

Distilled Vinegar, Water, No. 1 Grade Mustard Seed, Salt, Contains Less than 2% of Turmeric, Paprika, Spice, Natural Flavor, Garlic Power.

A 1-teaspoon serving of mustard has close to zero calories, with no sugar, no fat, and only 55mg of sodium. It’s hard to over consume mustard.

This is why we suggest opting more for mustard than for ketchup whenever given a choice.

  • Anonymous

    I typically don’t eat mustard or any other spreads. Is mustard simply better than other spreads or does it have other health benefits that should make me add mustard to my meals?

    • Eddie

      Well, not sure if it can be said about the American or Dijon varieties, but the type of mustard popular in the Eastern Europe, the Russian mustard, that actually has mustard seeds listed as second ingredient making up 25% of weight is a really fiery brew. It does have sugar added to it, that theoretically is considered ”evil” by this site’s standards but it’s physically impossible to consume more than half a teaspoon.

      Health benefits are numerous, the most notable being the fact that it greatly increases circulation. (I’m no doctor though, what I know about it comes from my ”tried and true” life hack box) Applications of mustard seed powder paste externally is a common remedy for sore knotted muscles, deep cough, later stages of sports injuries. Eating a good dose of strong mustard (of course using an appropriate ”vehicle” to mellow it out to bearable level, I like dark bread and a slice of cheese) relieves the symptoms of a cold such as congested nose.

      I would stay away from anything that says ”sweet mustard” though. The seed itself is really, really pungent and bitter, so anything that comes out of bottle as something sweet is deffinately very low on actual mustard seed. Buy the real stuff and if you want to have sweet, mustardy goodness (I often do) mix up something yourself, some good allies of mustard are honey, apple puree, prunes.

  • Mary

    Yellow mustard is much less expensive than ketchup. Comparing the dollar figures for sales probably doesn’t give a very accurate picture.

  • misterpete

    Mustard is most often a healthier choice … most popular ketchups are packed with liquid sugar…

  • jadegreen_eyz

    Spicy brown mustard is my sandwich condiment of choice but every now and then, I have a dollop of yellow mustard with a side dollop of ketchup to dip my fries in.

  • GiGi Eats Celebrities

    ADOREEEEE mustard! I put it on anything and everything, use it as a salad dressing, a grilled chicken dip, anything! :) I do like mixing ketchup (sugar-free) with mustard… Or straight up tomato paste :)

  • Granny Goat

    Nice to discover that something I like is actually good for me. I’ve heard that turmeric has some excellent health benefits (and it makes mustard yellow). By itself, I think it tastes like dust. Love to hear more.

  • Tommy

    Knowing this I’ll be using mustard to spread on my bread rather than butter!