Take a bow, Dr. Atkins. A major new U.S. study suggests that Robert Atkins was on to something when he started promoting his low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet in the 1970s. The randomized study, primarily financed by the U.S. Institute of Health and published Tuesday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that low-carb dieters lost more body fat and lowered their risk of heart disease significantly more than people on a low-fat, high-carb diet.
The researchers, led by Tulane University's Dr. Lydia Bazzano, split 148 racially diverse participants into two groups. One group was instructed to eat mostly protein and fat, including red meat and dairy but with an emphasis on nuts, fish, olive oil, and other foods high in unsaturated fats. The other group reduced their fat intake, per federal dietary recommendations, and ate lots of grains, starches, and cereals. Both groups were encouraged to eat lots of vegetables, and neither was told to restrict their calories or increase their physical activity.
A year later, the low-carb group had lost more weight that the low-fat group — 8 pounds more on average — and lowered their risk of cardiovascular diseases, as measured by their Framingham risk scores (the chance you'll have a heart attack within 10 years). The low-fat group saw no drop in their cardiovascular risk scores. And not only did the low-carb group lose a lot more body fat, but the low-fat group appeared to lose more muscle than fat.
You can read more about the findings at The New York Times. But enjoy that guilt-free bacon cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce while you can. Science will probably tell us something different soon enough. Peter Weber
Actress Amanda Peet is married to David Benioff, one of the creators and executive producers of Game of Thrones, a show that counts Peet among its passionate fans. Because of her great love for the show, the marriage may not last, Peet told Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. What happened with your husband? asked a surprised Kimmel. "I don't love him anymore," Peet said, then elaborated. "Jon Snow. I told him, if you kill him, that's it.... I'm in the process of getting divorced — I'm not kidding." She almost certainly is, but she tells a good story. She also does a pretty impressive Jon Snow imitation, reading instructions for an invisible bra she claimed to be wearing. Or at least Kimmel said it was a good impression. You can watch the whole dramatic exchange of Game of Thrones love, and find out what it's like to be a huge fan married to a man who won't tell you the show's secrets, below. Peter Weber
Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina resigned early Thursday, according to his spokesman, amid a fraud scandal that had already led to the imprisonment of his vice president and forced the resignation of some cabinet members. Hours earlier, Attorney General Thelma Aldana had told a local TV station that a judge had approved her request to detain Perez Molina to testify in court. The judge, Miguel Angel Galvea, would have been able to force the president to step down or even be sent to prison.
The resignation isn't official until Guatemala's Congress approves it and names a successor, moves expected Thursday. Under the constitution, Vice President Alejandro Maldonado, a conservative former high court judge, is next in line for the office.
The corruption scandal, which has dogged Perez Molina's administration for months and led to daily street protests, revolves around businesspeople paying bribes to customs officials to avoid paying import duties. It was uncovered by Guatemalan prosecutors and a United Nations commission. Perez Molina is accused of illegal association, fraud, and receiving bribes. The former president says he is innocent, and long maintained he would not step down. Guatemala is holding elections to pick his successor on Sunday, but Perez Molina wasn't scheduled to leave office until January. Peter Weber
According to a new poll, Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live, 54 percent of Republicans still believe that President Obama is a Muslim. "I'm sure Donald Trump had something to do with this," Kimmel said. He was surprised enough by the findings to make that questions — "Is President Barack Obama a Muslim?" — his "pedestrian question." The way the game works is the interviewer asks the question to a random pedestrian on the street, and then the audience guesses his or her answer, based only on name and place of residence. Did he find any "yes" votes, on camera? You can play along below. Peter Weber
Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who is thwarting the Supreme Court by continuing to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, sought another last-minute injunction on Wednesday, despite the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting her appeal on Monday. This earned an unusual rebuke from the top federal prosecutor in the area. "We have grave concerns about the reported failure to comply with the court's order," said U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey, who isn't involved in the case. "Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it."
Davis' confounding bid to delay the inevitable also earned her a Funny or Die video interspersing her on-camera refusal to obey the Supreme Court with scenes from the NBC hit Parks and Recreation, featuring stars Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Clerks and Recreation won't illuminate any of the issues in the case, but it might well make you laugh. Watch below. Peter Weber
In August, a House committee issued a subpoena to Brian Pagliano, a former information-technology staffer on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid who later worked at the State Department and set up and oversaw Clinton's private email server at her home in New York. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of that committee — set up to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya — ordered Pagliano to testify on Sept. 10 and provide documents related to Clinton's homebrew server, The Washington Post reports. Through his lawyer, Pagliano said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent if he is compelled to attend the hearing.
"It is not clear why Mr. Pagliano is refusing to answer questions about the server," notes Michael S. Schmidt at The New York Times. "The FBI is investigating how classified information was handled in connection with the account, but no evidence has surfaced that Mr. Pagliano had anything to do with those materials."
Pagliano's lawyer, Mark MacDougall, acknowledged in a letter to Gowdy that the decision "may be controversial in the current political environment," but cited the FBI investigation and quoted a Supreme Court ruling about the Fifth Amendment protecting "innocent men... 'who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.'"
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, blamed Gowdy and backed Pagliano's decision. "Although multiple legal experts agree there is no evidence of criminal activity, it is certainly understandable that this witness's attorneys advised him to assert his Fifth Amendment rights, especially given the onslaught of wild and unsubstantiated accusations" from Republicans, he said. "Their insatiable desire to derail Secretary Clinton's presidential campaign at all costs has real consequences for any serious congressional effort." Peter Weber
On Tuesday's Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon asked Justin Bieber why he cried at the end of his performance at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards. "It was just so overwhelming for me, everything," Bieber said: "The performance; I missed some cues, so I was disappointed at that; and just everyone.... I wasn't expecting them to support me in the way that they did." The last time he was at an awards show, the crowed booed him, he added. "I worked so hard at this album, I worked so hard at just becoming the man I want to become," that the moment overwhelmed him.
Fallon lightened the mood with a joke about harnesses, but then the chat got back to why everybody was booing Bieber before: He was acting like an immature jerk. Bieber blamed that on the "knuckleheads" he was hanging around with, and the fact that his period to "test the waters" was in the spotlight. Fallon said that part of becoming a man was picking yourself up after being knocked down — and Bieber has, apparently, with his new hit single. If this were a less sympathetic interview, Fallon could have added that adults also take responsibility for the times they acted like idiots (and remember when their albums are coming out). You can watch the friendly discussion of Bieber's maturity below. Peter Weber
On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping used a speech during a parade showcasing China's military strength to announce that he is cutting 300,000 personnel from China's massive army. He described the reduction of the 2.3-million-strong People's Liberation Army as a gesture of peace, saying that China will always "walk down the path of peaceful development." Analysts suggest the move is unlikely to reduce regional tensions over China's expanding military presence, and probably has more to do with Xi's efforts to modernize the armed forces.
Xi made his announcement during a parade to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II. The parade featured more than 12,000 soldiers, including some from Russia and elsewhere, tanks, advanced fighter jets and bombers, and a range of powerful missiles, some being shown off in public for the first time. Along with the show of force, China was also spotted for the first time deploying warships off the coast of Alaska, in international waters. Peter Weber