The Healthland Podcast: Paula Deen, Gossip that’s Good for You, and Why Men Spend More Money

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This week on the podcast: the brouhaha over southern cook Paula Deen’s diabetes diagnosis, why gossiping isn’t all bad (it can lower stress!), and the effect of a female shortage on how much money men spend. Click the play button below to listen, or go to iTunes to listen and subscribe for free.

TIME senior health writer Alice Park kicked off the discussion by asking the question, did Paula Deen’s doughnut-and-hamburger-loving style of cooking cause her diabetes — or is that too simplistic a connection to draw? Either way, lots of Deen’s critics seem to be reveling in her diagnosis — but here’s why Paula Deen will have the last laugh.

TIME editor-at-large Belinda Luscombe explained why men spend more money, save less and accrue more debt when they sense that women are few. (It’s to buy stuff to impress the ladies, of course.) Interestingly, though, the same phenomenon doesn’t hold true for women.

Finally, Healthland editor Sora Song talked about an intriguing study finding that gossip has an upside, at least if it’s the right kind. So-called prosocial gossip — which involves spreading information about untrustworthy or dishonest people in order to protect others — can serve to lower stress, prevent exploitation and encourage generous behavior in general. And, let’s admit it, gossiping is fun.

Thanks for listening. See you next week.