Andrea Marks is a writer based in New York City. Beginning in her home state of Connecticut at the School of the Hartford Ballet, she trained in dance for over 20 years. She majored in English and minored in dance at Skidmore College and earned her Master's degree in journalism at Columbia University.
Dietitians give straight answers to young dancers' most common questions. Thinkstock
Certain diet myths have persisted for decades. And Instagram and Facebook tend to magnify whatever wellness trends are hot. "Eating healthy is easy, but social media is making it so hard," says Rachel Fine, founder of To The Pointe Nutrition. With so much misinformation out there and compelling photography that markets crazes like #cleaneating as keys to covetable bodies, it's wise to listen to qualified professionals more than influencers. DT asked five experienced nutritionists and dietitians to set the record straight on dancers' most commonly asked questions.
<p>No. Carbohydrates are a major classification of nutrients and should account for 55 to 60 percent of your total calories. Carbs are the preferred source of energy for working muscles (and the brain, too, by the way). Getting regular servings of carb-rich foods like oats, quinoa, whole grains, sweet potatoes, fruits, veggies and legumes is the way to go for energy and performance. Dancers don't need to fear weight gain when eating reasonable portions of whole foods like these. Refined grains (like enriched white flour or bran), table sugar, candy and soda are the kinds of carbs that dancers need to be mindful of. These foods don't offer much nutritional value and won't keep you full very long—they should be once-in-a-while treats. <em>—Emily Harrison, a former ballet dancer who advises performers and students through her company, Dancer Nutrition</em><span></span><br></p>