Honey Mustard: Diet-Friendly?
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Honey Mustard: Diet-Friendly?

As sinful as mayo or as guilt-free as yellow mustard? Find out where honey mustard falls on the spectrum of sandwich condiments.
Question: "I love getting honey mustard on my sandwich. But even though it has 'mustard' in the name, is it closer to mayo? I don't want to wreck my diet."

Answer: "There's a huge range of options, from fat-free to high fat," says Cynthia Sass, RD, of honey mustard. "But in either case, it's far from plain or spicy mustard nutritionally."

Sass points out that even fat-free honey mustard, at about 50 calories per two-tablespoon serving, is significantly higher in calories than spicy and yellow mustards, many of which are calorie-free. Some spicy and Dijon mustards do have up to 30 calories in two tablespoons, but Sass notes that you'd be unlikely to use that much on a sandwich: "A little bit goes a long way, flavor-wise."

Full-fat honey mustard is even more detrimental to your diet than fat-free, and not just because of the fat content. "The full-fat honey mustards have about 120 calories, 11 grams of fat (in two tablespoons) and contain high fructose corn syrup, which is usually higher in the ingredient list than honey," says Sass.

Sass further cautions that by substituting honey mustard for regular mustard, you might be missing out on added health benefits: "Actual mustard contains cancer-fighting phytochemicals similar to those in broccoli and cabbage."

Mayonnaise, by comparison, is still the richest of the condiment options, averaging about 180 calories and 20 grams of fat per two-tablespoon serving.

The Skinny

If you're looking for a yes-or-no verdict, Sass advises: "My vote on honey mustard is nay. But if you really and truly love it, go for it -- just be sure to add a little more activity to your day if you aren't sure you'll burn off the extra calories, or cut back elsewhere."

Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, August 2006.