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  • Diet Coke map of Victoria shows who’s fat and who’s not

    Published on August 7, 2010

    SHOPPERS in Victoria’s richest suburbs are snapping up diet soft drinks to dissolve their waistlines.

    Bayside’s wealthy Hampton is the capital of sugar-free Coke. But out west in St Albans, such colas are being canned.

    A statewide snapshot of Woolworths and Safeway supermarket sales reveals ritzier areas are converting to diet and zero-sugar fizzy drinks at a faster pace, while many working-class regions are resisting the push.

    Sales of Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke outstrip standard Coke in Hampton, Malvern, Middle Brighton and South Yarra stores.

    But full-sugar Coke is still the standout buy in St Albans, Springvale, Dandenong and Lalor.

    Woolworths spokesman Benedict Brook said the soft drinks were consistently priced across the state.

    “It’s not like we are selling diet drinks cheaper in Toorak,” Mr Brook said.

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    “We stock in the same ratios in different locations, and replace as they run out.”

    Coca-Cola Amatil figures show grocery sales of non-sugar Coke have shot up from 28 per cent to 35 per cent of cola market share in the past six years.

    Australian Beverages Council chief Geoff Parker said diet soft drinks were popular with women, while men had shown most interest in no-sugar brands.

    “The industry has listened to public health officials to reduce consumption of sugar,” Mr Parker said.

    Nutritionist Nicole Senior said standard colas contained about 9 1/2 teaspoons of sugar in a single can.

    Diet and no-sugar versions were healthier because they replaced sugar and kilojoules with artificial sweeteners.

    But Ms Senior warned that children risked teeth erosion from all types of soft drinks – also energy drinks and fruit juices – because of their high acidity.

    The industry is monitoring overseas moves to substitute artificial sweeteners with a plant extract called stevia.

    The innovation follows studies linking heavy consumption of artificially sweetened drinks with side effects such as headaches.