The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a popular type of high fat, very low carb eating plan.

It was originally developed as a therapy for treating seizure disorders, but recent evidence suggests it may also be beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight or improve blood sugar control (1).

People who are new to the keto diet often find themselves wondering whether their favorite foods can be safely included.

Condiments like mustard can be particularly tricky, as there are so many varieties, each with a unique carb profile.

This article reviews whether mustard is keto-friendly, plus a few tips for ensuring your mustard habit doesn’t hinder your diet progress.

The primary goal of a ketogenic diet is to transition your body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.

When you consume a varied diet, your body will naturally favor the use of carbohydrates in the form of glucose to produce energy.

When glucose is unavailable, your body will use an alternative source of energy produced from fat — formally known as ketones. The metabolic state in which your body is relying on ketones instead of glucose for fuel is called ketosis (2).

The key to achieving and maintaining ketosis with your diet is to dramatically reduce your carb intake while increasing the amount of fat you consume.

The extent to which you may need to reduce your carb intake to achieve ketosis varies depending on your body chemistry.

However, most people who follow a keto diet limit their carb intake to no more than 5–10% of their daily calories, or about 25–50 grams of carbs per day (1, 2).

Because the carb limits are so stringent, successful implementation of a ketogenic diet requires careful and meticulous menu planning to ensure you stay within your allotted carb limit.

Mustard tends to be a low carb condiment, but some sugar-sweetened varieties contain enough carbs to potentially throw you out of ketosis if you’re not careful with your serving size.


The main goal of a ketogenic diet is to transition into a metabolic state in which your body uses fat for energy instead of carbs. This requires extreme carb restriction, and certain types of sweetened mustards may not fit within a keto diet plan.

Mustard is one of the most popular condiments in the world.

It’s traditionally made from mustard seeds and vinegar, beer, or wine. The selected ingredients are blended to make a paste, or spread, which may be used by itself or as a base for dressings, sauces, marinades, and dips.

Most varieties of mustard don’t contain any carbs and can be easily incorporated into a keto meal plan. However, some types may contain fruit, honey, or other types of sweeteners that can significantly contribute to your daily carb intake.

Here are some examples of popular mustard varieties that don’t contain any carbs and are a great fit for a ketogenic diet (3, 4, 5, 6):

  • yellow mustard
  • Dijon mustard
  • stoneground mustard
  • spicy brown mustard

Honey mustard is one of the most popular varieties of sweetened mustard.

As the name implies, honey mustard is typically sweetened with honey, but other sweeteners may also be included, such as cane sugar or corn syrup.

The exact number of carbs in honey mustard will vary depending on the recipe, but most commercially prepared varieties fall within a range of about 6–12 grams of carbs per tablespoon (15 grams) (7, 8).

Certain types of specialty mustards may incorporate other sources of carbs, such as fruit, into their recipes.

If you’re unsure how many carbs are in a particular product, check the nutrition facts label before consuming it.


Many of the most popular types of mustard contain no carbs and are a great fit for a keto diet. Certain varieties, such as honey mustard, contain more carbs because of added sweeteners.

If your favorite type of mustard happens to be one of the sweetened varieties, don’t throw out the bottle just yet.

With appropriate planning, even higher carb mustards can be safely incorporated into a keto diet plan. The key to success is simply portion control.

Avoid using sweetened mustards without measuring your serving size first.

For instance, absentmindedly dipping grilled chicken tenders into a bowl of honey mustard can make it much easier to accidentally overconsume carbs.

Instead, measure a portion that fits within your daily carb goals. If you want to add more volume, you can stretch out your serving size by mixing it with a high fat ingredient, such as olive oil, mayonnaise, or avocado.

Alternatively, you could try making your own honey mustard substitute using a combination of unsweetened brown or yellow mustard, mayonnaise, and a low carb sweetener, such as stevia.


If you want to include higher carb mustard varieties on your keto diet plan, practicing moderation and meticulous portion control is essential.

The keto diet is a popular type of very low carb, high fat diet used for a variety of health benefits, including weight loss and improved blood sugar control.

Mustard is a popular condiment that’s typically very low carb and fits well into most keto diet plans.

That said, some varieties of mustard are sweetened with high carb ingredients, such as honey, sugar, or fruit.

If you plan on using these varieties, it’s important to practice portion control to ensure that it doesn’t cause you to accidentally exceed your daily carb limits.