What are electric chopsticks? Can you imagine being able to eat salty food, but without using more salt? Although it seems quite illogical, a group of researchers succeeded. How did they do it? Connecting the rods to the electric current. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since Ars-Technica echoes a new chopstick device, which produces “electrical stimulation to make food 50% saltier.” This technology was researched and developed by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Kirinwho brought together a group of researchers to achieve this impressive feat.
Of course, we are not talking about ordinary chopsticks. This version of the traditional Asian utensil Comes connected to an electrical outlet via a power cord. The result is a product that is not very comfortable to use and, of course, it is not something that we will receive for free with the delivery of sushi.
How the technology behind these electric chopsticks works?
This utensil was developed by researchers from the laboratory of Dr. Homei Miyashita of Meiji University. This group worked with Kirin, and they succeeded in creating the technology called “electric taste sensation“. In addition, they assure that does not affect the human body due to the level of electricity so low that it manages.
Dr. Miyashita is well known for being the creator of an interesting screen. With her, you can taste your favorite foods just by licking the panel. Sure, it’s a rather strange invention, but it looks like he managed to get it to a better place with those electric wands.
According to Kirin, electricity “adjusts the function of ions such as sodium chloride (which is the basis of salty taste) and sodium glutamate (which is the basis of sweet taste), to alter the perception of taste giving the impression that the food tastes stronger or weaker.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of these chopsticks, the team conducted a study on a population of 36 people. For their part, the ages of these individuals ranged between 40 and 65 years. According to the aforementioned media, researchers used the electric baton to compare perceived salinity; using a gel that mimicked food and contained 0.8% salt. The other gel used in the study, meanwhile, contained 0.5%, thus representing a low-sodium food.
From these samples, the researchers analyzed the salinity perceived by each of the participants.
Kirin’s surprising results
“When tasting the samples mimicking low sodium foods, the perceived salty taste increased by a factor of 1.5 when the developed electrical stimulation wave was applied to the chopstick device, compared to the ‘absence of electrical stimulation, he specifies in the document and adds:
In addition, the study confirmed that the salty taste intensity of the sample mimicking a low-sodium food was the same as that of the sample mimicking an ordinary food when electrical stimulation was applied. This suggests that when foods containing 30% less salt are consumed, an appliance equipped with this technology can provide a salty taste equivalent to that of a normal meal.
In addition to testing the invention in special gels, Kirin also conducted tests using “low sodium miso soup”. However, this last study did not offer results. Likewise, they did not investigate how these electric chopsticks affected the subjects’ perception of salt when they ate sodium-free foods.
Kirin ensures that this technology could be transposed to other utensils, such as spoons or even tea cups. Of course, each will need a power supply to operate, but this is undoubtedly an incredible advancement. Let’s remember that the health dangers of foods that are too high in sodium or sugars have become our daily bread and that devices like this could significantly reduce weight.
However, it seems that currently there are no plans to commercialize the technology used. However, Kirin says that in collaboration with the Miyashita lab, they plan to use their research to “provide both the mental satisfaction of a richer perceived taste, as well as the health benefits derived from the nutritional aspects for those who are on a low-sodium diet..