Japanese researchers invent "electric spoons" that make food taste saltier

Researchers at Japan's Meiji University collaborated with food and beverage company Kirin Holdings and invented a type of "electric" chopsticks that increases the perceived saltiness of food.

The invention may seem at first glance like an excessive luxury to use technology, but it is beneficial for health; The average Japanese consumes more than 10 grams of salt per day, which is nearly double the World Health Organization's recommendation for salt intake per day.

Salt is known to cause various lifestyle-related diseases such as high blood pressure and chronic kidney disorders.

The researchers had developed monitoring devices that could track sodium intake in real time, but that didn't work because low-salt foods didn't suit people in Japan.

Technology to the rescue
A research team led by Dr. Homi Miyashita invented new chopsticks that use electrical signals to improve the taste of food.

Japanese researchers invent "electric spoons" that make food taste saltier  Researchers at Japan's Meiji University collaborated with food and beverage company Kirin Holdings and invented a type of "electric" chopsticks that increases the perceived saltiness of food.  The invention may seem at first glance like an excessive luxury to use technology, but it is beneficial for health; The average Japanese consumes more than 10 grams of salt per day, which is nearly double the World Health Organization's recommendation for salt intake per day.  Salt is known to cause various lifestyle-related diseases such as high blood pressure and chronic kidney disorders.  The researchers had developed monitoring devices that could track sodium intake in real time, but that didn't work because low-salt foods didn't suit people in Japan.  Technology to the rescue A research team led by Dr. Homi Miyashita invented new chopsticks that use electrical signals to improve the taste of food.  Previous research has shown that sodium chloride ions add salt to food, while sodium glutamate ions add sweetness.  By sending a weak electrical charge with food, a charge that doesn't harm humans, the researchers wanted to alter the sense of taste.  To achieve this, the team developed a pair of chopsticks that can provide a weak charge, and are controlled by a microcomputer attached to a wristband that a person using chopsticks must wear.  Miyashita said - in an interview with the British newspaper "The Guardian" - that the device ionizes the sodium in the food, which leads to an increase in its salinity, although the total amount of salt in the food is low.  Invention Verification The researchers recruited 36 volunteers to check that their method worked, and gave them food samples that contained regular amounts of salt and low amounts of salt.  The volunteers were able to differentiate between the two food samples when eaten using traditional chopsticks. But when eating with "electric" chopsticks, the food samples were perceived to be equally salty.  Experiment has proven that despite reducing salt by up to 30%, the food did not lose its taste.  Interestingly, the collaboration not only developed chopsticks but also spoons and teacups that could achieve similar results in terms of saltiness and sweetness. But chopsticks are likely to be the first products released early next year.


Previous research has shown that sodium chloride ions add salt to food, while sodium glutamate ions add sweetness.

By sending a weak electrical charge with food, a charge that doesn't harm humans, the researchers wanted to alter the sense of taste.

To achieve this, the team developed a pair of chopsticks that can provide a weak charge, and are controlled by a microcomputer attached to a wristband that a person using chopsticks must wear.

Miyashita said - in an interview with the British newspaper "The Guardian" - that the device ionizes the sodium in the food, which leads to an increase in its salinity, although the total amount of salt in the food is low.

Invention Verification
The researchers recruited 36 volunteers to check that their method worked, and gave them food samples that contained regular amounts of salt and low amounts of salt.

The volunteers were able to differentiate between the two food samples when eaten using traditional chopsticks. But when eating with "electric" chopsticks, the food samples were perceived to be equally salty.

Experiment has proven that despite reducing salt by up to 30%, the food did not lose its taste.

Interestingly, the collaboration not only developed chopsticks but also spoons and teacups that could achieve similar results in terms of saltiness and sweetness. But chopsticks are likely to be the first products released early next year.
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