Health & beauty

A Digital Lollipop Could Help Curb Cravings

Don't get too excited -- it's not on the market yet

It's the holiday eating season, and we could use all the help we can get when it comes to controlling our need to snack every five seconds. Thankfully, scientists in Singapore are working on a lollipop -- yes, a lollipop -- that they swear will curb cravings.

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Okay, so it's not really a candy, per se, but a "digital lollipop," that activates taste receptors on your tongue via electric currents. The currents can create the sensation of salty, sweet or sour tastes without the actual, you know, calories.

The device is, sadly, still in the experimental phase, but it could eventually be used to help people who've lost some of their sensory access, or for whom some tastes are too overpowering. "We could be building essentially sensory fireworks," said Randall Reed, director for the Center of Sensory Biology and professor of Molecular Biology at Johns Hopkins University "I expect in another decade or two that we will be using combinations of either designed chemicals or something potentially electrical ... that provide unique combinations of taste and smell that are novel and different."

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The lollipop is one step on the road, says Reed, toward potentially creating an entirely pill-based flavor system, sort of like in Willly Wonka. Fingers crossed! [ABC News]

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