Research: Mustard might assist with weight loss.


Mustard may boost your metabolism and reduce insulin sensitivity.  

Weight loss is tough for just about anyone that attempts it.  Few of us have the gift of the perfect metabolism that allows us to eat whatever we want and not gain weight.  No matter what your plan is, weight loss is best achieved through diet and exercise, but strict weight loss plans are near impossible and hard to maintain. The good news is making simple changes, such as adding mustard to your meals or recipes, could boost your metabolism, increase fat burning, and help you lose belly fat.

Mustard or mustard seed is a wonderful spice and flavoring that can be added to just about any dish you can imagine.  It is good for pork, fish, chicken, and beef.  Mustard seed is a primary ingredient in mustard, and the type of mustard varies by the size of the grind and the different ingredients added.   the seeds are also sold on their own, typically in ground form. Mustard seeds are low in calories and carbohydrates so that the seeds may be a beneficial addition to your weight loss meal plan. Although mustard seeds can be helpful, you still need to consume a reduced-calorie diet to lose weight while eating this food.

What is mustard?  Mustard seeds are the small 1-2 mm round seeds or fruit pods that come from the mustard plants.  There are several varieties of plants, but they all belong to the Brassica family of plants.  Some of the other members in this family include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, horseradish, and wasabi.  The mustard seeds we consume are harvested from three different plants: white mustard (yellow), brown mustard (Brassica juncea), and black mustard (Brassica nigra).   The black mustard is rare and has a spicier flavor.  White mustard seeds, which are really yellow, have the mildest taste of the 3.  Brown mustard seeds have a medium flavor and are the ones commonly used in dijon mustard or brown mustard.  

Mustartd Seed
Mustard Seed

So what does the research show?  While eating mustard alone will not make you slim and trim or make a huge difference, adding it to a healthy diet can give your body the extra boost you need to make a difference.  A recent article from the Huffington Post touted mustard as a weight loss tool​​[1]​​.  The study behind the claim was performed at Oxford and looked at different spices and metabolism.  The researchers found that mustard may increase your metabolic rate by up to 25%​​[2]​​.  The British investigators added ordinary mustard to a meal, and subjects burned off an extra 45 calories in the next 3 hours.  The effect was also seen in hot sauces such as Tabasco.   The study was plaques by a low N.    

Another study showed in mice that mustard supplementation in mice reduced insulin sensitivity​[3]​.  This may assist in preventing metabolic syndrome.  Mice’ physiology is similar but not the same as humans’.  More research is needed.  

How does mustard work?  Mustard may increase satiety because of the vinegar content and flavor.  It also appears to act similar to hot peppers in that the spicy flavor increases metabolism.  More research on the mechanism is needed.  

What else do I recommend mustard?  Mustard has a huge flavor bonus.  It is low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat.  One teaspoon has ten calories with 0.7 grams of fat, 0.6 grams of carbohydrates with 0.2 grams of fiber, and 0.5 grams of protein.  That is a pretty balanced nutritional profile.  It is an acquired taste and takes some time to acquire, but if you do, I am certain you will find that it helps reduce your calorie intake.  Strong flavors tend to increase satiety, also.  

The bottom line: Mustard may assist with weight loss by increasing your metabolism.   If you increase metabolism, you will increase fat burning and weight loss as long as you do not also increase food intake.  It is big on flavor and may increase satiety.  Choose a mustard with hot peppers or capsaicin and get an even larger metabolic boost.  More research is needed.  


  1. [1]
    “6 Metabolism Hacks For Maximum Calorie Burn,” HuffPost, Sep. 26, 2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: Feb. 10, 2018]
  2. [2]
    C. Henry and B. Emery, “Effect of spiced food on metabolic rate.,” Hum Nutr Clin Nutr, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 165–8, Mar. 1986.
  3. [3]
    S. Yadav, V. Vats, A. Ammini, and J. Grover, “Brassica juncea (Rai) significantly prevented the development of insulin resistance in rats fed fructose-enriched diet.,” J Ethnopharmacol, vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 113–6, Jul. 2004.
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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