The salt fork is one shocking way (literally) to lower your salt intake

Mar 30, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Image: People Images/Getty Images

Salty or sweet? It's the eternal question — at least when it comes to snacking. But a new invention may change how you answer that question.

If you're the kind of person who prefers chips, pretzels and fries to ice cream or chocolate, then you'll love this new invention from researchers at the University of Tokyo. It aims to give you all that savory goodness of eating salt, but without the health worries. (Because let's face it: Not putting salt on your food is a tasteless, bland diet hell.)

Behold the Salt Fork:

Image: Nikkei Technology

The Salt Fork works by using an electric current to stimulate the salty and sour taste buds on your tongue. The inventors, likening the experience to licking a battery, say it comes with three current levels so you can customize your flavor experience.

If you love salty and sweet — why choose when you can dip your french fries in a Frosty and have the best of both worlds? I have to say this idea doesn't seem very appealing to me. To make the Salt Fork (Salork? Sark?) work, you are supposed to push a button each time you need a hit of salt. That seems like it would take away from the experience of enjoying a dish with nuanced flavors. Not to mention, if you overdose you risk getting a real shock?

More: How to kick your salt cravings to the curb

But I'm probably not the target market. The researchers said they hope that the Salt Fork will allow people who are medically prohibited from indulging in salt, like those with very high blood pressure, a way to enjoy their favorite foods without feeling deprived. To accomplish this, they're partnering with the No Salt Restaurant campaign, a public project designed to help lower sodium in popular eateries.

Currently (hah!) the Salt Fork is just a prototype but the scientists say it will cost a mere $17.70 to produce and is easy to produce. While I can't say it is the most exciting diet invention, it is definitely the most shocking.

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