A video showing what happens when you put salt onto freshly cut meat is going viral, with many viewers claiming that it just might push them over the edge into vegetarianism. See what you reckon by watching it below.
OK, so what did you reckon?
Obviously, it’s just a bit of meat so the video is not actually that graphic – unless you already are a vegan or vegetarian, in which case it must be disgusting – but what is really interesting is the effect that the salt has on it.
When the salt is poured over the freshly cut bit of meat – let’s just assume it’s beef, as that’s what it looks like – it starts to contract and spasm as if it was still alive.
It’s actually something that some people have used in cooking, which adds a particularly whimsical - or horrendous, depending on your outlook – frisson to the dish.
You might have seen a video in the past that shows a squid dish that has been freshly prepared having soy sauce poured all over it, causing the tentacles to squirm around as if it were still alive.
Or perhaps you’ve seen something similar done with frog legs and salt?
Well, there is a scientific explanation behind it.
For starters, if you’ll excuse the completely intended pun, the meat that you’re using for this sort of culinary trickery has to be seriously fresh.
Like, just recently killed fresh.
So fresh – in fact – that the neurons in the flesh are still intact and capable of reacting - that’s the secret behind all of this.
The salt, whether in granular form or in salty soy sauce, triggers a response from the neurons, which in turn causes the reaction we can see in the meats.
There is a much more complex explanation to be found in an article published last year in Scientific American, which reads: “All cells are polarised, which means the concentrations of charged atoms, called ions, of the fluid inside them is different from the fluid outside them. “It is this difference in ion concentrations that creates a difference in charge (or voltage) across membrane.
“This difference - called a membrane potential - allows neurons to work.”
It continues: “Neurons are highly specialised cells which process and transmit electrical signals.
“When not activated, neurons maintain their membrane potential by actively pumping out sodium ions and pumping in potassium ions, keeping a voltage difference of roughly -70 millivolts.
“When a neuron is activated, however, specific channels open that allows sodium ions to flood in.
“This rapid change in the charge difference causes potassium channels to open, allowing potassium to flow out.
“At a certain point, the channels all close, and those active pumps work towards restoring the resting membrane potential - but not before triggering channels nearby to open.
“That's how the signal moves from one end of the neuron to the other - channels open in one area, which causes channels nearby to open, and so on and so forth from one end to the other.”
Got that? Good.
So, as the meat is fresh, the neurons still work when the sodium chloride – salt – is poured on, causing this response.
However, those who have seen this resurfaced video are not keen on the idea, with several claiming it has turned them vegetarian.
One said: “It's not cool at all. I feel creepy," while another added: “Well, this picture could make me give up eating meat.”
A third wrote: “I've just ordered a salad.”
Someone else simply commented: “Yo! I ain't eating meat again.”
There you have it – when you next eat a piece of meat, maybe you should cast your mind back this moment.
Or don’t – it’s really up to you.