Informed decisions – are they always better?

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I have been reading a book recently – 4 hour workweek. It pretty much advocates living on a low-information diet. I was as surprised by this as you would be in the Information Age that we live in – with so many sources of information and so much information.

But looking back at my life once I moved to NY, I realized that perhaps Timothy Ferriss may be right!

I was at the tea counter in my office. And one of my colleagues was reading the ingredients typed on the tea pouch – it had something to the effect of hydrogenated sugar. Seeing this she was wondering whether it was a good idea for her to drink the tea.  I am not sure whether the substance is good for the human body or not. But yeah, I know that knowing it was in her tea, influenced her decision.

I have seen similar examples when so many of us have not consumed some foods because of the names of the ingredients on the labels. A lot of times only because we don’t understand what it means. I relayed this story to a friend of mine back home, and he made a simple statement “Did you look for the ingredients on all food items you bought when you were in India? Did that make you any less healthy?” His question really made me realize that I was making a mountain of a mole-hill and so were many others. Specially, when I was leaner and healthier when I was in India than I am right now!!

So again, that brings me to my key questions – are informed decisions always better? Or do we perhaps over-analyze some things and get paralyzed in the process?

I suppose I could list down a few things I learned from this:

  • Information may be good for you – if you understand it. Only reading the ingredients and not understanding (a) what they mean and (b) how they impact you, would not make it information only data
  • Making decisions in the absence of knowledge and based on pure data can be counterproductive, and is best avoided
  • In all likelihood, if it is a reputed manufacturer that sells a ton of food products, and the item you are looking at rests on a shelf in the store (FDA approved) then it should be fit to consume – don’t over-analyze

On similar lines – is organic food always better for us? More … next week!!



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