There are three separate concepts in GTD:
The calendar is sacred territory (defines the hard edges), not an actual list, and contains those things which must be completed that day and/or at that time.
The Tickler File is setup to remind you on a specific day about something.
Next Actions, of course, are things you need to do next to push something toward completion.
I'm not sure what platform you are on, but I use 2 and 3 almost in tandem via Reminders.app from Apple; it lets me capture all my next actions in one place - one of the most important parts of GTD.
I work with a lot of clients in my day job doing development as well. Usually, during those office hours, it really feels like a to-do list that I'm just going down one item at a time. But, my main restriction is context...given my office environment, I would feel really bad if I bailed and went grocery shopping - even if it was the next thing on my tickler list for the day.
If you are looking at your "Next Actions" lists and automatically going through line for line, then it has become a to-do list for that day. This is not actually inherently bad, because you are not waking up in the morning with the specific intent of creating a "daily to-do list" - at least I'm assuming you're not. However, if you are "scanning the terrain" and choosing what to do next based on "context, time available, energy available, and priority" then you're okay.
I typically start deciding what to do next by looking at "Today" (both the Calendar and the Tickler File, which I use Reminders.app for). If I've been keeping up with refining my next action lists, I should see only those things I could possibly get done that day, but are not required to get done that day.
For example, I have Sprint Reviews with my business partner every month. When I think of something I want to talk with him about between meetings, I write it down and set it to tickle me before that meeting...it's in the system I trust and out of my head - the most important part of GTD. (This is the digital equivalent of the 43 Folders concept.)
Another example, would be my Saturday ticklers. I am reminded every Saturday to take out the trash, do laundry, and get some serious cleaning done in at least one room of my apartment. But, sometimes, I have plans on Saturday that don't include these things. Sometimes I'm not feeling well. Sometimes I may have to go into the office instead. So, I get reminded, it's in the system I trust and know I will look at again, but I have to tell myself "Not this time" (Ha! Not this week - as it were) and move those ticklers to a different day.
One other thing I've done, is to create Next Action lists at the project level (which it sounds like you do a little as well). While I'm in "work-mode", where all I want to do is work on my various projects, I can scan over all the next action lists and keep picking off things to do based on the four step process.
To sum up. Capture everything. Have the ability to renegotiate any action (on a list, not the calendar) if need be. When doing predefined work (from the three types of work), pick your next action based on the four steps of choosing your work. Scan your calendar and next action lists throughout the day during breaks. If you end up just going through the "today" list in a somewhat robotic fashion - no big deal - not all of our lives are crazy and filled with drama; meetings; interruptions from secretaries, investors, and e-mail...and, I would argue, once you get really good at getting things done (GTD or no), you will have less and less moments of tension and more moments of blissfully moving through your day getting things done.
Hope that helps.
ps. It's not how you maintain the system that determines whether it turns into daily to-do lists; it's the mindset and approach you use when determining what to do next.