Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Augusto. Augusto Wonders, “What is keto?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Augusto!

You already know that people eat different diets. Some people are vegetarians. Others are vegans. Some call themselves carnivores. More likely, they’re omnivores. Many kids try to turn down vegetables. Others stay away from sweets.

Have you ever heard someone say they’re on the keto diet? Did you WONDER what they meant? "Keto" is short for "ketogenic." The diet changes the way your body is fueled. Normally, your body uses carbohydrates (carbs) for energy. On the keto diet, your body uses ketones instead.

The human body makes ketones from stored fat. To make ketones, it has to burn lots of fat. That’s how people lose weight on the keto diet. Their bodies burn off fat to make energy. That causes them to slim down quickly.

To make more ketones, people on the keto diet limit the carbs they eat. They eat between 20 and 50 grams of carbs each day. To compare, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests eating between 225 and 325 grams of carbs per day.

So what high-carb foods do people on the keto diet stay away from? There’s the obvious—sweets like ice cream, brownies, and cake are usually out of the question. Other high-carb foods include grains, like rice and bread. Many people on the keto diet also cut out fruits. Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, squash, and corn, are high in carbs as well.

Okay. That’s a lot of food. So what DO you eat on a keto diet? The diet is made up mostly of protein and fat. That means fish is a great choice since it has lots of both. Low-carb vegetables, including zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and kale are also good options. 

You’ll also see people on the keto diet eating many things from the dairy food group. Cheese and yogurt are common. The keto diet also includes lots of meat, nuts, and seeds. Fatty oils are used as well.

What if you’ve got a sweet tooth? It sounds like most sweet foods are off the table! That’s definitely true. However, some sweet foods are okay on the keto diet. Some fruits, like berries, are lower in carbs and can satisfy a sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is another good option. It’s much lower in carbs than milk chocolate.

Is the keto diet healthy? Expert opinions vary. Many believe it’s a good choice if severe obesity is threatening a person’s health. Some doctors also believe the keto diet helps people with type 2 diabetes. Other studies have shown it may prevent seizures

However, many doctors say the keto diet may cause liver and kidney problems. There are also concerns about people on this diet not getting the right nutrients. Others worry that the diet is so high in fat. Eating lots of saturated fat can cause heart problems.

Are you WONDERing how your diet affects your health? Talk to an adult or your doctor. They can help you understand how food choices impact your body.

Standards: NGSS.LS1.C, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1

Wonder What's Next?

Don’t stay out in the CODE! Come on into Wonderopolis for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day.