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Why would you want chopsticks that deliver an electric shock to your tongue?

Answer: To make your food taste saltier.

Many who have tried to eat healthier have experienced this conundrum — healthier food doesn’t usually taste as good, often because it’s low in things like salt and sugar. But what if you could trick yourself into thinking that it had more of these tastier elements, even when it didn’t?

That was the theory behind the chopsticks recently developed in Japan by researchers from the Yoshinori Miyashita Laboratory of the Department of Advanced Media Science, Meiji University, and Japanese food producer Kirin. A metal tip on one of the chopsticks delivers a very mild electric current when it comes into contact with the user’s tongue. This enhances the salty and umami flavors (also known as the good ones) on the user's taste buds by affecting the ions in sodium chloride and monosodium glutamate.

In other words, the chopsticks fool you into thinking your food tastes better than it actually does. They increased the salty flavor of food by almost 1.5 times in a trial, meaning that the salt in a dish could be reduced by 30 percent without the consumer knowing if they ate it with the chopsticks.