The Worst Nutrition Advice This Dance Dietitian Has Ever Heard
Don't just trust what others say you should—or shouldn't—be eating. Photo by Toa Haftiba/Unsplash
When it comes to what you should be eating, rumors often catch on like wildfire. Dietitian Rachel Fine, who works with dancers in New York City, shares the most misguided nutrition strategies she's recently encountered.
Rumor: Drink Bulletproof Coffee Every Morning.
Give your body carbs when it wakes up. Photo by Mikesh Kaos/Unsplash
Reality: The trendy recipe, which mixes butter and oil into coffee, isn't really what your body needs when you wake up. "When you sleep, your body's using most of its glycogen stores," says Fine. "The best thing when you wake up is not drinking caffeine and fat, but replenishing your carb stores."
Rumor: Only Eat Organic.
Don't let a focus on organic products keep you from eating healthy. Photo by Megan Hodges/Unsplash
Reality: Fine supports buying organic when it comes to any fruit or vegetable where you eat the skin, and any dairy products, meat or fish. But she sees dancers get overly obsessive. "It turns into a fear of eating out if they don't have access to organic food," she says.
Rumor: Eat a Tablespoon of Coconut Oil Per Day.
Coconut oil is great for moisturizing, but doesn't need to be part of your daily diet. Photo by Jonas Ducker/Unsplash
Reality: "Coconut oil is actually high in saturated fats, not healthy fat," she says. You're better off incorporating olive oil or avocado oil into your diet instead.
Rumor: Completely Cut Out Carbs.
Carbs give you energy to dance. Photo by Sarah Boyle/Unsplash
Reality: "Each macronutrient has its own job," says Fine. "Carbs give us energy, protein helps repair muscle, fat is critical for healing." If you're not giving your body enough carbs for energy, it's going to use protein instead, which will break down your muscles.
Rumor: MCT Oils Give You Better Energy.
Medium-chain fatty acids break down faster than long-chain fats, but you're unlikely to see real benefits. Photo by Katherine Hanlon/Unsplash.
Reality: It's true that your body can break down this medium-chain fatty acid (found in certain foods with saturated fats) more quickly than long-chain fats. "But you don't really see those energy benefits unless you're a super-intense, Michael Phelps kind of athlete," says Fine. Even then, the science behind it is pretty preliminary.
Rumor: Swap Out Sugar for Stevia.
Sugar (in moderation) is likely safer than substitutes. Photo by Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash
Reality: Unless a client is being treated for diabetes, Fine recommends regular table sugar in moderation: "It's been around forever, and there are no chemicals in it." You're better off with one teaspoon of the real stuff than multiple packets of something that has little research behind it.
Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB
We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.
Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.
We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.
A previous lab cycle. Photo by Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade, Courtesy RRR Creative
Choreographic incubator Broadway Dance Lab has recently been rechristened Dance Lab New York. "I found the nomenclature of 'Broadway' was actually a type of glass ceiling to the organization," says choreographer Josh Prince, who founded the nonprofit in 2012.