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Electric chopsticks that make low-salt food taste salty developed by Meiji University

By SoraNews24

One of the big drags of getting older is not being able to eat with abandon any more. Nowadays just looking at the amount of salt my kids pour onto their food is enough to give me heart palpitations, but it sure would be nice to indulge in those strong flavors without risking a lifestyle disease.

Food producer Kirin and Meiji University seem to agree and through extensive research have developed a pair of chopsticks that can stimulate the taste of salt in foods with low salt content. This still unnamed device does this simply by sending a weak electric current right into your food.


The trick was finding just the right electrical waveform that affects the ions such as sodium chloride that are responsible for salty tastes so that the saltiness they produce is enhanced. As an added bonus, this current also affects the ions in monosodium glutamate, which is responsible for the umami flavor of foods like miso soup.

▼ Behold! The waveform of saltiness


They then conducted tests by feeding subjects a gel with a particular salt content and asking them to rate how salty it tasted in order to set a benchmark. They then fed them a gel with salt reduced by 30 percent. Interestingly, the test subjects’ scores also reported a surprisingly accurate drop of about 30 percent in perceived saltiness.

In the final test, subjects were served the same reduced-salt gel but ate it with the electrified chopsticks. As a result the perceived saltiness scores rose by 50 percent, making the reduced-salt gel taste saltier than the original salty gel.

▼ In this graph the y-axis represents perceived saltiness and the three bars along the x-axis represent the regular salty gel with normal chopsticks, reduced-salt gel with normal chopsticks, and reduced-salt gel with electrified chopsticks respectively.


Encouraging results were also found in tests using a low-salt miso soup, with reports that not only saltiness was enhanced, but umami and all round flavor as well. Readers of the news were also impressed, but some expressed concern over what is essentially shocking ourselves.


“If they could do the same thing with sweetness, wouldn’t it make dieting a lot easier?”

“To dream of electric sheep…”

“The idea is amazing, but do you have to eat it a certain way to work? I wish they could just implant it in my mouth somehow.”

“Is this really better for our bodies though?”

It’s hard to say with certainty but the researchers behind this device say the current used is too weak to have any effect on the human body. Anyway, this does appear to be just the tip of the salt lick for this technology, as the possibility for other tastes to be enhanced through electricity does seem to exist and electrical currents can be applied to pretty much any form of tableware from bowls to spoons.

▼ A sportier version of the chopsticks with a wrist-mounted power source has already been designed


Source: Meiji UniversityHachima Kiko

Images: Meiji University

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Do try this at home! 5 foods that you can recreate in taste by combining other foods

-- “Science of deliciousness” steak-and-coffee chips, developed by analysing human taste sensors

-- Miso soup could help protect against cancer, research suggests

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Or, use potassium salt, if sodium intake is an issue. If it's not, add more salt. Because that thing is ridiculous.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why does this remind me in a way of certain other appliances designed to enhance 'stimulation' of sensory signals for 'satisfaction'? Food porn has come of age! Humans...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japanese food in the Kanto region is often extremely salty. Often even more sodium is added in the form of MSG.

A far more effective solution is to add herbs and spices. More garlic and chilli really helps add flavour and in a healthy way.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

They need chopsticks that make the food taste like you're eating it with a fork.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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