You've heard variations on the theme over and over again: Sugar is PURE EVIL! Go sugar-free! Don't let sugar poison your temple of a body! Etc etc.
But the truth about sugar, especially for highly active people (hello, dancers), is a bit more complicated. In fact, as a new Shape story points out, eating sugar at specific times can actually improve your performance.
If you're working out for longer than an hour (say, in a dance class or rehearsal), your body's stores of carbohydrates—aka fuel—can dip too low, making you feel tired and jittery. At those moments, consuming easily digestible sugars, like the ones found in sports drinks, can give you the boost you need to keep dancing at your best. Snacking on something sweet before class may also help the work feel easier. And the most replenishing post-rehearsal snack is a sugary food plus a protein-packed food (a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts, for example).
That doesn't mean an all-cupcake diet is a good idea, obviously. But strategic sugar consumption can help you dance better. Check out the whole Shape article here—and pick up a copy of our March issue for an even more in-depth sugar breakdown, "The Truth About Sugar."