In Japan, the traditional diet involves high amounts of salt. On average, a Japanese adult consumes a total of ten grams of salt per day. This amount is about twice as high as the consumption recommendation that the WHO – the World Health Organization – assumes.
However, such high salt consumption has a negative effect on health. For example, increased salt consumption leads to a massive weakening of the immune system.
Chopsticks as a flavor enhancer
To solve this problem, researchers at Meiji University, in cooperation with the beverage company Kirin, have designed flavor-enhancing small chopsticks. The job of these chopsticks is to enhance the flavor of low-salt foods.
For several years, the scientists have been dealing with various technologies that can be used to manipulate human sensory experiences.
Only a short time ago, the scientists presented a tasteful display for the first time. Users can lick this display.
Artificial transfer of sodium ions
The recently introduced chopsticks are upgraded with a low-level electric current that conducts the sodium ions from food directly into the mouth.
The salty taste then develops in the mouth, but only in small concentrations. This effect causes the salty taste to increase 1.5 times.
A breakthrough in health promotion
Japanese researchers describe the development as a breakthrough. In her opinion, salt consumption must be reduced in order to prevent diseases. If this positive health effect is to be achieved through conventional methods, it is imperative to eliminate salty foods or to favor bland foods.
That is why the researchers will continue to concentrate on further developing the rod prototype in the near future. The launch of a market-ready product is planned for the middle of next year.