Humans have been salting their meals since the beginning of time. Salt makes food taste better. At least I think it does.
Unfortunately too much salt isn’t good for the body and doesn’t play nice with high blood pressure, which 30 percent of all adults have. So it seems like the choice is high blood pressure or bland food. Yikes.
Well an assistant professor and director at the University of Maine’s Multisensory Interactive Media Lab, Nimesha Ranasinghe, might have a high tech solution.
Ranasinghe created a pair of chopsticks with electrodes embedded in the tips, enabling them to gently zap the tongue to produce simulated flavors. Then he had people eat unsalted mashed potatoes with the chopsticks. In this study, which he describes in the journal Food Research International, he found that he could reliably increase the perception of saltiness.
He imagines that such technology could one day let people hack the flavor of their food while sticking to a healthy diet. “The flavor would be external to whatever you’re consuming,” he says.