Mustard vs. Mayo

So you’re at the deli counter and ready to order a sandwich. Your stomach’s grumbling for turkey and provolone on whole wheat, with lettuce, tomato and…mayonnaise or mustard?  Let’s explore the two condiments.

Basic mayonnaise is a mixture of egg yolk, oil and a bit of lemon juice or vinegar. Mayo is virtually all fat, with the egg yolk providing artery-clogging saturated fat. One tablespoon of regular mayo packs around 90 calories, mostly coming from 10 grams fat (3.5 g saturated fat). Light mayonnaise totals only about 35 calories per tablespoon, with 3 grams fat (0 g saturated fat).

Whether it’s Dijon, honey or deli style, mustard is prepared from the seeds of a mustard plant, blended with spices and vinegar. Mustard is relatively harmless at less than 30 calories per tablespoon and no saturated fat.

So it seems obvious that mustard is a healthier choice than regular mayo, but why not choose light mayonnaise? Some foodies shy away from reduced fat products because added ingredients make the item more processed and less natural. Maybe it’s best to use the real thing, but sparingly? (I’m undecided.) If it’s between regular, full-fat mayo and mustard, go with the mustard. A teaspoon or two adds strong flavor, but negligible calories to your sandwich.


Filed under Fats & Oils, Heart Healthy Choices, Meal Tips, Weight loss

4 responses to “Mustard vs. Mayo

  1. Greg Bandolik

    A good topic, and one that reminds me of salt vs. pepper.

    So many people I’ve met who love salt but have blood pressure issues never even think about trying pepper as a healthier substitute. Natural spices/seeds are often underutilized/underrated.

  2. Carlotta

    Thanks for the article. I decided to look up some information since I went to Subway after my workout. I got a 6inch turkey on wheat, spinach, green peppers, pickles, mustard, salt, pepper and oregano.

  3. Astrid

    Most mustards, including Dijon and classic yellow mustard, contain ZERO calories. 30 calories is on the high end, and likely not mustard but rather a mustard spread with added fats and sugars.

    • While the nutrition facts panel on the back of French’s Classic Yellow Mustard indicates that 1 teaspoon is calorie free, this is not 100% accurate. The same label also states that 1 tsp contains 1 gram of carbohydrate. At 4 calories per gram of carb, one tablespoon (3 tsp) of this mustard will pack at least 12 calories. My blog post above was referring to calories in 1 tablespoon, since most of us use more than 1 tsp of mustard on a sandwich.

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