Salt and sugar are basic ingredients to make food taste better, but they can also have a bad effect on the human body if consumed in excess. Just as VR glasses can trick our eyes into seeing a virtual 3D world, scientists are working on “miracle” wands that can trick our tongues into tasting salty taste, even in low salt healthy dishes.
Jointly developed by researchers from the Yoshinori Miyashita Laboratory of Meiji University and a Japanese food producer Kirin (famous for beer), the chopsticks were created as part of a project by The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to reduce the daily salt intake of Japanese people, is actually significantly higher than recommended by the World Health Organization.
The goal is to reduce salt intake by at least 20%, but that also leads to a loss of taste, a huge hurdle for those looking to adopt a healthier diet. That’s why the researchers created these chopsticks.
At the end of one of the chopsticks is a metal contact, which transmits an electric current of a particular wavelength into the mouth of the eater, stimulating the ions in sodium chloride and MSG to create a salty and umami taste, increasing enhanced perception of taste buds in the tongue.
In a recent test, electric current was shown to increase the salty taste of food by almost 1.5 times. When eating something prepared with 30% less salt, users won’t be able to tell the difference in taste. With a very low level of current, the user does not experience numbness at the tip of the tongue.
Researchers at Meiji University have improved the chopsticks to make them more usable thanks to a battery that the user can wear on the wrist. However, they have no intention of turning it into a commercial product yet.