What’s an Information Diet, and Why is it Important, and How to Improve it?

Joao Nina Matos
4 min readApr 25, 2022

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The same way your food diet should reflect your goals for your body, your information diet should reflect your goals for your mind.

So here’s what I’m gonna cover:
🍱 What’s My Information Diet?
🧠 Why is it Important Anyway?
🩻 How to Improve it, & Align it With Your Goals

For most of human history, information & knowledge was scarce, so the game was pretty simple: the more information, the better. In today’s coruscating cities, that’s not the case — we have the internet, & there’s way too much for us to digest. That means we have to be deliberate about the information we consume. (Hence you might’ve heard people talk about the ‘age of curation.’)

When humans (animals) are trying to survive when food is scarce, it’s pretty simple: the more food, the better. Today, we (most developed countries anyway) have plenty of food, so it’s all about choosing the best foods to put in our bodies. The same way your food diet should reflect your goals for your body, your information diet should reflect your goals for your mind.

I’ve put together this little piece to give you a quick crash course on what an information diet is, why it’s so important, and how you can start working to improve it. This isn’t an exhaustive resource, so definitely do some of your own reading too!

A book on display at an exhibition at the New York Public Library next to Bryant Park. (definitely worth a visit!)

🍱 What’s My Information Diet?

First things first, you have to be clear about what an information diet even is. Essentially, it’s just all the information you consume — the same way your food diet is all the food you consume. This can include:

  • Websites you read: news / blogs (like this one!) / forums / etc.
  • Videos you watch: YouTube / movies / Netflix / etc.
  • Audio you listen to: podcasts / songs
  • Conversations you have with various people
  • Things you read: Books / newspapers / magazines / etc.
  • Pretty much any information you receive

In a food diet, you have your macros like carbs, protein, fats, etc. In your information diet, you also have a similar kind of thing: you have macro groups of information like personal growth, personal health, soft skills / interpersonal skills, STEM, the arts, etc.

Just as foods have a mix of different nutrients, information also has a mix of different components. A particular food might have a lot of protein, but also some carbs and some fats — a book you read might be a lot about personal growth, but may also contain some material about personal health & interpersonal skills.

You can then also sub-categorise information even more (i.e. STEM includes physics, biology, chemistry, etc. and you can still break those down further.) Think of those sub-categories as your micronutrients.

🧠 Why is it Important Anyway?

The reason this is important to understand, is because the same way the food you consume significantly shapes your body, the information you consume also significantly shapes your mind, and its ability to learn & process new material.

It affects the quality of conversations you have, the quality of the work you do, and the kind of links you can create between different ideas. A really good information diet can make a huge difference in your life, both personal & professional.

🩻 How to Improve it, & Align it With Your Goals

Balanced Diets are the Best

Firstly, as a general principle to follow, balanced diets are the best. In nutrition, you want a balanced diet, and in your information diet, the same applies.

Consuming information from different macro categories can really help you get faster at grasping new ideas & processing new information, as well as deepen & strengthen your understanding of existing concepts you’ve already come across.

You may have a particular area of focus where you work in, and the majority of your information diet may be directed toward learning in that particular category, but don’t entirely neglect other macro groups. Think of it a little like a food pyramid — the base of the pyramid (the biggest group) should be your area of focus where you want to learn most, but don’t forget to consume a little bit of other groups you’re also interested in.

Align it With Your Goals

It’s also important to align your information diet with your goals. For example, some people say they want to prioritise their good health — if that’s the case, your information diet should also reflect that, and they should spend some time learning about personal health.

If you’re looking to develop expertise a new area, then you should also shape your information diet accordingly, and consume more of that general category.

It’s also especially important to keep consuming, and digesting — continuing to intake information is crucial to keeping a healthy information diet, because if you don’t, your knowledge may become outdated, and/or when you come across new concepts & ideas in conversations or other areas, you may not grasp them as quickly because your brain isn’t used to dealing with a consistent flow of new information.

Thanks for reading this! Hope this article maybe helped you re-consider the content you consume and shape it a little more deliberately!

Would love for you to share if you enjoyed :)

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