Has the taste of broccoli, spinach or asparagus ever made you gag? Do you hate the taste of plain quinoa? And is kale pretty much the worst thing ever?
Making “healthy” food choices for many might be easier if certain fruits and veggies were as lip-smackingly delicious as a greasy burger or crunchy fries. Wouldn’t it be great if, say, a salad could taste like a piece of chocolate, instead?
British scientists say they’re on the verge of a true futuristic food-lover’s miracle. announcing a new spoon that can reportedly change the taste of any food being consumed. The “Taste Buddy” invention produces a low-level electrical current that stimulates the appropriate taste buds so that the mouth perceives sweet or salty flavors (and sends those signals to the brain)– even if they’re not really present.
The invention, which is being worked on by scientists at the University of London, was unveiled at the Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair in Birmingham last week.
The device could, in theory, be fitted for utensils such as cups, cans and cutlery. For now, the team is working on a prototype spoon.
“What started out as a fun engineering experiment has now led to something much more exciting with the potential to have a positive social impact,” said Adrian Cheok, the lead scientist working on the project.
“The Taste Buddy could eventually help save lives, by allowing people to switch to healthier food choices,” Cheok told the Telegraph. “Many children hate the taste of vegetables. So I knew that when I became an engineer, I wanted to make a device that could allow children to eat vegetables that taste like chocolate.”
But how does it actually work?
The gadget takes advantage of the many chemical reactions that occur in the mouth while eating. Sour and salty flavors are recognized when taste receptors on the tongue detect the reaction between saliva and the acidity of sodium or hydrogen. The team uses a frequency, via electrical stimulation, which then artificially stimulates that reaction.
So basically this “magic” spoon tricks your tongue into thinking you’re eating a doughnut (instead of broccoli) and sends a sweet signal to your brain. Yummy.