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Welcome to the July issue of Vox’s The Highlight

An extreme diet fad, falling into pet debt, and more.

Photo of fried eggs with a fork. Scott Suchman for Vox

Keto isn’t just one of the most popular diets of the year: It’s a Silicon Valley life-hacking fixation, a Hollywood trend, and fodder for numerous online communities. Devotees can meet at low-carb keto cruises, conferences, and cafes and buy pseudo-medical supplements and devices to check whether they’re truly in “ketosis,” the holy grail fat-burning state these dieters are after.

In this month’s Highlight cover story, we look at keto, the diet that’s so extreme that few can maintain it. (Followers avoid ice cream and pizza, as well as whole grains, fruits, and legumes.) But a growing body of science is exploring whether the strict keto diet might actually be a potential foil for Type 2 diabetes and other illnesses.

Also in this issue: As spending on pets continues to rise, and technology in the vet’s office improves, pet owners are increasingly finding themselves in vet debt; a look at the image-tweaking app Facetune; the story on cosmic rays; and more.

Read on:

The keto moment

The extreme diet phenomenon may offer clues on how nutrition can treat disease.

by Julia Belluz

Illustration of a dog standing by a blue cross, with dollar signs floating around it. Zac Freeland/Vox

A sick pet, and an unthinkable choice

Are rising costs of care, and readily available credit, leading pet owners into vet debt?

by Peter Rugg

Photoillustration of a woman’s unsmiling face with insets of a smiling mouth, cheek, and eye. Javier Zarracina/Vox, Photos: Getty Images

Facetune and the internet’s endless pursuit of physical perfection

A face-perfecting app only widens the gap between our digital and real selves.

by Rebecca Jennings

Illustration of lightning amid darkness. Javier Zarracina/Vox

Cosmic rays are raining down on us. No one knows where they come from.

But with large-scale experiments, scientists around the world are determined to find out.

by Brian Resnick

A photo illustration of Jack Dylan Sandifer and name-change documents. Christina Animashaun/Vox

A day in name-changing court

Legally changing my name was an emotional day. The best part was sharing it with strangers.

by J. Dylan Sandifer

A photo illustration of a person feeding a squirrel out of their hand. Javier Zarracina/Vox

How a Bay Area ban on feeding squirrels and birds ended up saving their lives

Feeding animals can seem helpful. But it does more harm than good.

by Alison Hermance

Future Perfect

How the US is preparing to fight — and win — a war in space

Even Better

How to make your anger work for you

Future Perfect

We have treatments for opioid addiction that work. So why is the problem getting worse?

View all stories in The Highlight

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