Eating a scrumptious meal may sound appealing but all those salt may take a toll on one's blood pressure. For people with increased blood pressure, doctors recommend a low salt diet. It may seem unappetizing but a new electric fork can shock the tongue and simulate salty flavor.

The prototype of the fork, which was developed based on electric flavoring technology, was presented by Hiromi Nakamura at Rekimoto Lab, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies at the University of Tokyo.

Mainly invented for people who are advised to eat a low-salt or salt-free diet, the fork could help people enjoy a meal without worrying about its taste. The inventor prepared the fork for "No Salt Restaurant," a project to offer a salt-free full-course meal.

No-Salt Never Again

The fork's electrical jolt is activated when the button is pressed. It creates a circuit between the fingers, the metal fork and the tongue.

When the charged sodium ions touch the tongue, the current activates ion gates that relay messages to the brain. Somehow, the fork taps the system by targeting the ion gates with an electric charge, making them send salty signals to the brain.

How Much Does It Cost?

The prototype of the fork costs about ¥2,000 ($17.8) excluding the price of the fork. The level of saltiness depends on eating habits, age and other factors. As of the moment, however, only three levels are available.

The fork can also provide a metallic taste, which is unpleasant, when pushed too hard. In case it could be commercialized, the forks should be calibrated to ensure that users have a pleasant experience.

Hypertension And Salt Intake

Too much salt in the diet could lead to increased blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), sodium is essential for life but when taken in excessive amounts, it could lead to increased blood pressure.

Hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessel walls over time. This could lead to serious complications such as kidney disease, heart problems and stroke. It is dubbed the "silent killer" because its symptoms are not always obvious.

An estimated one-third of adults in the United States have high blood pressure and about 90 percent are expected to develop high blood pressure over their lifetimes. 

Photo: Joshua Rappeneker | Flickr 

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