WASHINGTON — A coalition of 18 food organizations, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the American Bakers Association, has formed the “Back to Balance Coalition,” which aims to promote balanced, practical and achievable dietary guidance. The coalition on Dec. 9 also released results from an October 2014 survey of 300 registered dietitians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

The coalition’s formation comes as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are developing nutritional policies such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015.

“Historically, we’ve seen shifts in dietary recommendations that have led to conflicting messages and confusion,” said Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., R.N., a professor of nutrition at Rutgers University. “These recommendations often have little to do with what Americans really eat, nor do they consider what working families could achieve given today’s time and economic pressures.”

The survey found support for a balanced diet as 51% of respondents “strongly agreed” and 46% “agreed” with the statement, “The total diet of overall food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. All foods can fit within this pattern if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined physical activity.”

Another survey statement said, “Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while and balancing them out with healthier foods and more physical activity.” The statement drew a “strongly agree” response from 57% of respondents and an “agree” response from 36%.

One other statement read, “Providing practical ‘how to’ advice is more effective than limiting my client’s choices by telling them not to eat foods they enjoy.” It drew a “strongly agree” response from 46% and an “agree” response from 48%.

“What we’ve been missing are the practical tools that show ‘how to’ incorporate dietary recommendations into today’s lifestyles,” said Dr. Byrd-Bredbenner. “These recommendations would emphasize portion control, listening to internal cues for satiety and working with people on behavior-based tactics to help Americans build an overall healthful dietary pattern that takes into account the reality of how people live.”

More information on the survey and the coalition may be found at www.Bk2Balance.org.

The 18 members of the Back to Balance Coalition are:

*the American Association of Meat Processors,

*the American Bakers Association,

*the American Frozen Foods Institute,

*the American Meat Institute,

*the Can Manufacturers Institute,

*the Canned Food Alliance,

*the Food Marketing Institute,

*the Grain Foods Foundation,

*the Grocery Manufacturers Association,

*the National Chicken Council,

*the National Confectioners Association,

*the National Potato Council,

*the National Turkey Federation,

*the North American Meat Association,

*the Shelf-Stable Food Processors Association,

*the Snack Food Association,

*The Sugar Association, and

*the Wheat Foods Council.