Is it Time For an Information Diet? 11.15.2022 • 6 min read
The Seekr Team
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A Fresh Look at a Balanced Diet 

Life can be busy, stressful, and overwhelming. For comfort, you might give into a craving and find yourself inhaling a cheeseburger: the whole thing and the fries. It will taste amazing, but an hour later, regret may kick in. A nap under your desk may seem appealing. This is not an example of living your best self, but we’ve all been there. 

Everybody knows that fast food isn’t good for you, the occasional burger is fine, but if it’s the only thing you’re eating, your doctor will be concerned.  Do you remember the food pyramid growing up? The sweet stuff at the pointy end of the pyramid was meant to be consumed in moderation and in small quantities and balanced with a broad and diverse diet of whole foods at the base for growing and staying strong and healthy.  

Information Consumption: You Are What You Eat 

A diet consisting only of social media or low-quality information can also have consequences on what you think, make you less informed, and impact the health of society.   

Endlessly and mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed, watching YouTube video after YouTube video, or losing weeks of your life to a soap opera/celebrity court case, is probably as good for you as binge-eating the entire menu at your local fast-food outlet. A healthy, well-balanced media diet means consuming news and other information from multiple reputable sources, with a sprinkling of social media on the side.  

Due to the astronomically expanding digital universe, we consume more news and information than ever.  Many sources of news and information aren’t evaluated and vetted for credibility. It’s like eating out at restaurants before health and safety codes were developed. It can be a daunting task navigating the new media landscape, and that’s probably why people stick to the sweet stuff. It’s easier, and it tastes good. It feeds you the information you’re predisposed to and wants to hear. This diet doesn’t expand your mind, create empathy for those with different ideas, or challenge you intellectually or mentally.  However, it’s not hard to have a healthier information diet. 

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If you answered ‘No, not really,’ to any of these questions, it could be time to assess your information diet and its impact on yourself and those around you. If you answered an enthusiastic, ‘Absolutely!’ to all of them, well done! You probably have a healthy, well-balanced information diet! 😉 

Why is it essential to have a healthy, well-balanced information diet? 

No judgment here; you’re free to consume what you want. But, if the whole internet had a nutrition label, this would be the warning: Consuming too much junk information can cause “Information Disorder.” This phenomenon put forth by Claire Wardle, Ph.D., and Hossein Derakhshan, in their 2017 report, introduces the Information Disorder as consisting of misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information, in the context of unregulated digital and social media landscapes.  

We’ve witnessed the consequences of misinformation and disinformation in our world today, from unnecessary health care costs of misinformation campaigns to stock market losses. Plus, increased mental health issues as a cause of false information and extreme polarization in society that has led to actual violence, putting increased pressure on our democracy. In a 2022 global study, 62% of people think they encounter false or misleading information online weekly.  

So, how do you identify misinformation and disinformation? It seems like a survival skill we need. But technology has evolved faster than our survival mechanisms. Most people haven’t learned these skills because, until recently, there was a limited number of sources at our disposal.  Also, it’s not easy to spot false information since it shows up in all shapes and sizes. 

Here are seven types of misinformation and disinformation outlined by First Draft, the initial non-profit organization that spearheaded information disorder research and advocacy. 


What you can do to have a healthy information diet: 

  1. Assess your information diet. If you eat bad food, it only affects you and your health. A lousy information diet can impact your mental health, decision-making, and those you care about. 

  1. Slow down. Remember the eating advice to chew your food 32 times to promote better digestion? Think twice about scrolling quickly, making snap judgments, and sharing content without understanding the source, the facts, or the consequences. 

  1. Take responsibility and self-educate on digital media literacy. Follow the Seekr blog as we share tips and resources. Or get a head start by checking out, a valuable online resource. It’s a non-profit, non-partisan organization that teaches anyone from Teens to Seniors how to improve their digital media literacy. 

  1. Follow the recommended news diet pyramid, sponsored by Seekr

    If you're interested in learning more about how your online habits are impacting you, take this NPR quiz on How to know if you spend too much time online and need to log off