10 things we thought were good or bad for us… that turned out not to be
“More is not better” — according to Bloomberg writer Venessa Wong, too much of a good thing is… a bad thing.
“Don’t believe everything you think you know” — Huffington Post contributor Amanda Chan points out research in 2011 that turns old truths on their head.
Red Wine — good
Not only might red wine contribute to keeping you heart healthy — this year we also learned that resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, might be able to prevent further growth of breast cancer cells.
Too much… information — bad
Information overload and multitasking can reduce productivity. Stanford University researchers showed that light media multitaskers find it easier to filter out irrelevant information as well as to switch from one task to another than do heavy multitaskers. “People may be receiving so much information they no longer have time to think deeply about it.”
Coffee — good
The journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, published a study this year showing that coffee appears to protect women from depression.
Too much… entertainment — bad
Too much time spent playing video games and watching TV (according to Nielsen Co., Americans average 34 hours of television watching every week) means too little time spent exercising, leading to increased body fat and poorer health. A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry noted that more time spent in front of the TV (watching or playing) may lead to depression in young adults.
Singletasking — good
Though we take as our heroes those of us who can manage to crunch the numbers for the annual report while making a dinner for twelve while on the phone with their sister in Sri Lanka, it turns out that staying focused on one task at a time may actually be better for your brain.
Too many… “friends” — bad
Online friends, that is. A study by the Pew Research Center showed that social networking can have a negative impact on a person’s face-to-face relationships; not to mention the study done by York University in Toronto, which found that higher levels of online activity and self-promotional content are linked to higher levels of narcissism and lower levels of self-esteem.
Beer — good
Turns out, beer may have similar beneficial properties as does wine. An Italian study showed that people who drink beer moderately have a 31 percent decreased risk of heart disease.
Too much… energy — bad
Discovering so much energy (from nonrenewable sources) all at once has led us to a false sense of security regarding energy consumption. The U.S. government’s Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report shows greenhouse gas emissions increasing 17 percent in 17 years (from 1990 to 2007). University of California researchers estimate that at our current supply, growth and consumption levels, we will deplete the planet’s oil supply by 2041.
Fidgeting — good
Although it may not seem good to the person next to you in the movie theater, research published this year in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that fidgeting could contribute to your daily physical activity, boosting your cardio fitness.
Too many… choices— bad
Ever stand in the supermarket, frozen and unsure what to pick off the shelf? Welcome to “analysis paralysis” — or the “paradox of choice.” Your supermarket likely offers you five times the selection as it did your parents in 1975. There are more movies, TV shows (TV stations!), credit cards, banks, cars… more of everything. Turns out the abundance of options can be too overwhelming, either preventing consumers from choosing anything at all, or leaving them with a feeling of dissatisfaction with their choice, the nagging question “did I choose the right one?”