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This electric spoon tricks your brain and makes food taste saltier

Published Jun 8th, 2024 3:10PM EDT
A variety of Thai foods on a table.
Image: leelakajonkij/Adobe

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An electric salt spoon is making waves in Japan. The spoon is designed to deliver weak electrical currents through the tip of the device to concentrated sodium ion molecules found on the tongue. This allows for food eaten with the spoon to taste saltier without having to actually add more sodium to it.

The idea might seem like a crazy one. After all, why would you need a spoon that can make food taste saltier when you could just put more salt on it yourself? The goal, it seems, is to help cut down on the sodium intake for people who are struggling to reduce theirs. Considering the various conditions—like heart disease—that excess sodium intake has been tied to, it isn’t all that surprising to see researchers looking for off-the-cuff ways to approach the problem.

Kirin Electric Salt spoonImage source: Kirin

The electric salt spoon is manufactured and sold by Kirin, a Japanese company. The company says that the spoon can be customized between four different intensity levels to provide users with the salty flavor that they desire. The spoon was developed alongside professor Homei Miyashita of Meiji University, Sky News reports.

Miyashita has previously worked on a prototype pair of electric chopsticks capable of using the same currents, and he won the Ig Nobel Nutrition prize last year. The spoon was designed to help people cut down on salt without having to resort to “tasteless” food, an issue that surveys have often claimed happens when the level of salt used in food is lowered from what the patient is used to.

This new electric salt spoon runs off a rechargeable battery, so you’ll need to keep it plugged in and charged up to take advantage of the benefits that it offers. It’s unclear if something similar will eventually make its way to western markets. For now, the spoon is only available in through Kirin’s Japanese vendors.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.