Researchers create chopsticks that add salty flavor to any food without the need for salt thanks to electric waves

Technology applied to gastronomy allows people to eat healthier, although it is true that it has also left curious inventions to remember, such as an app that tells you what you have pocho in the fridge and even robots that cook paella. With the aim of promoting healthy eating habits, researchers have now created chopsticks capable of increasing the salty taste of food using electrical waves.

Salt is essential for the body, but if consumed in excess it can have detrimental health effects, such as an increased incidence of high blood pressure, strokes and other ailments. In fact, it is considered a public health problem in Japan, where an adult consumes 10.9 grams of this condiment per day, which is more than double the limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

To put an end to this problem and promote healthier diets, researchers at Meiji University in Japan, together with the beverage manufacturer Kirin Holdings, have created electric chopsticks that have the ability to increase the salty taste of food through electrical stimuli. An invention that could help people who need to reduce the sodium in their food, according to its creators.

These chopsticks use a weak electric current to transmit sodium ions from food, through this device, directly to the mouth; which causes a sensation of healthiness to be created. “As a result, the salty taste is improved by 1.5 times,” according to Professor Homei Miyashita of the Japanese university, who led the project and is also responsible for the screen that is licked to test how a food tastes.

The device includes a small battery that is attached to the wrist, as if it were a bracelet, and is responsible for applying electrical waves to the chopsticks while the person holds the food with them. Thanks to this, modifications at the atomic level of the food are provoked.

The creators of the chopsticks have assured that the electrical stimuli are undetectable to the human body and can readjust the ions of compounds such as common salt (sodium chloride) or sodium glutamate, which is related to the sweet taste, to cause changes in the taste of food.

Professor Homei Miyashita and his team of researchers are still working on this project, which they launched on an experimental basis in 2019. A device that for the moment is still in the development phase and could have particular relevance in Japan, where the traditional diet favors salty flavors.

Project leaders said the electric chopsticks are “a big step” toward making low-sodium food tastier and promoting healthier eating habits. While they are working on refining their device for commercialization in 2023, they have also stated that this technology could be used in spoons, forks and other utensils.


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