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Want salt with that? Sodium meter checks soups, sauces

Thanko's Handy Salt Meter works on hot liquid dishes, but you'll have to do some math. Just don't stick it in that bag of Pringles.

Sodium meter
Off the scale: Sadly, the 8-inch probe doesn't gauge spiciness. Thanko

Most of us consume way too much sodium, either sprinkling it on fries or gobbling it unawares via prepared and processed foods.

We'd all like to cut down to avoid high blood pressure and heart disease, but apart from reading nutritional information labels, it's hard to determine how much sodium a dish contains.

Well, the mighty gadget-spawning samurai at Japan's Thanko have unsheathed the Handy Salt Meter for hot liquid foods.

This portable salt content thermometer, as it were, works with soup broth and is geared to people who love dishes like ramen or udon noodles. It also works with curry and pasta sauce.

The device can be inserted into liquid or semi-liquid food with a temperature of about 140 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stick it in and the sensors measure salt content in less than a second, displaying results on an LED scale from 0.3 to 2 percent. If you're having salty foods like soup or pasta, expect a high reading.

Then you have to do some math. You have to know roughly how much food you're consuming, and calculate the salt content.

For instance, according to Thanko, if you're having 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of soup, and you get a reading of 1 percent, you'll know the soup contains about 1 gram of salt.

That's rather tedious, but after all the Handy Salt Meter is only $19.80. It's available here.

On that note, please pass the pepper.