Diet-friendly electric spoon enhances saltiness in food without actual salt

It’s almost too easy to take salt for granted these days given how common it is, but there was a time long ago when it was as valuable as gold. The role that salt and salty flavors play in our lives becomes all too apparent the moment we taste bland food, resulting in requesting for seasoning or, well, salt. Too much salt, however, put people’s health at risk, especially in cultures that lean towards very salty dishes. Replacing salt with healthier alternatives might just be a stopgap solution, so this innovative electric spoon simply tries to trick our tongues into tasting saltiness where there is barely any salt, allowing people to consume less salt without actual giving up their favorite flavor.

Designer: Kirin

Simple as it may look, our tongues are really complex systems of taste buds that may react different depending on their location and sensitivity to certain flavors. We’ve all been through science experiments related to the different areas of the tongue as well as how weak electrical currents, like those from a lemon, can affect our sense of taste. The latter is the principle behind this simple-looking electric salt spoon that aims to promote a healthier diet by reducing the amount of salt you need to use or consume just to get that salty flavor you love.

In a nutshell, the plastic and metal spoon passes a very weak electrical current on your tongue that tries to draw sodium ions that are normally dispersed and wasted, enhancing the salty flavor that would have otherwise been lost normally. This does mean that the salty flavor doesn’t just magically appear and there needs to still be some amount of salt in the dish for the magic to work. That said, the technology promises 1.5 times more saltiness, which mean you can use 1.5 times less salt to taste the same flavor. For a food culture like Japan that consumes 10g of salt daily, much higher than what the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends, that’s still a significant reduction.

The design of the spoon itself is pretty basic, and its large handle almost makes it look and feel like a child’s spoon. Operating the electric spoon is a simple matter of pressing a single button to turn it on and cycling through different electrical intensities. Amusingly, they recommend a proper way of holding the spoon and positioning your arm in order to maximize the effect of the weak current provided by a rechargeable lithium battery.

It might be a weird idea to be giving your tongue a tiny electrical shock to make food taste saltier, and the company behind the innovation promises it’s all within safe ranges. While it’s not going to make food magically taste better, the electric salt spoon offers a simpler, and somewhat more affordable way to enjoy low-salt diets without resorting to expensive salt alternatives.