This isn't the first time I've heard the argument that diet drinks are no better than the sugary kind for overall health. They have fewer calories but the calories in sugary things aren't the only problem.The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board may move to extend its ban on sugary drinks, the board's principal dental officer says.A ban on the sale of drinks with added sugar from cafes and stores at Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim, and Nelson Hospital was introduced at the beginning of last year.The policy prevents the sale of soft drinks, energy drinks and flavoured milk on hospital premises.Diet drinks, smoothies and fruit juices were not included in the policy.However, the board's principal dental officer Dr Rob Beaglehole said the health board might move to follow the lead of three Wellington district health boards, which not only banned drinks with added sugars but also prohibited the sale of drinks with artificial sweeteners and limited the volume of juices and smoothies.This would mean diet soft drinks, such as Diet Coke and Coke Zero, could not be sold on hospital grounds."Emerging evidence suggests that not only are the diet soft drinks detrimental to teeth but that they are also a contributing factor to obesity and type two diabetes," Beaglehole said.
But consider what this sort of thing means for those pushing soda taxes. Would it mean broader taxes on soda (diet or not) plus juice and smoothies and whatever Starbucks now makes? Would soda just be a foot in the door for expansion to other drinks?
Note that the article above is a couple weeks' old now - I'd missed it first time round.