TOKYO, May 25 — At a time when the World Health Organisation is sounding the alarm about excessive salt consumption — with adults eating twice as much as recommended — scientists in Japan have developed an electric spoon that uses an electric current to trick the brain into thinking that food is saltier than it really is. Here’s how it works.

The World Health Organisation recommends eating less than five grams of salt a day, the equivalent of a teaspoon. And with good reason, because too much sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

In Japan, a solution has been found that is easy to use on a daily basis to reduce salt consumption without feeling frustrated by the lack of flavour in food. This takes the form of a spoon that amplifies the salty taste of food by means of a simple electric current. It was developed in association with Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita.

More precisely, the receptors on the tongue perceive the salty taste more intensely because the spoon sends out a small electric current that concentrates sodium ion molecules on the tongue. And don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt! In other words, the brain is tricked into thinking that foods are saltier than they really are.


The concept of the electric spoon is now being commercialised by Japanese food giant Kirin Holdings, which owns the Asahi, Sapporo and Suntory beer brands. Retailing of the “electric salt spoon” was announced a few days ago, with a limited number of spoons available initially via an online store. The electric spoon, which is listed at a price of ¥19,800 (around RM592) will then arrive in stores from June.

Two years ago, Tokyo’s Meiji University and Kirin Holdings began their collaboration with a scientific experiment involving prototype electric chopsticks. As with the spoon, the idea was to use a weak electrical field to make food taste saltier. — ETX Studio