Sucralose (also known as Splenda) is a high-intensity artificial sweetener that is commonly used in protein powders as a sugar substitute. It is made from sucrose by replacing three of the hydroxyl groups on the sugar molecule with chlorine atoms. This modification makes sucralose about 600 times sweeter than sugar, so only a very small amount is needed to sweeten foods and beverages.
Sucralose has several benefits as a sweetener for protein powders. It does not contribute any calories to the product, making it a good choice for people who are trying to manage their weight or blood sugar levels. It also does not cause tooth decay, as it is not fermented by bacteria in the mouth.
There are some concerns about the safety of consuming sucralose in large quantities, as animal studies have suggested that it may have some negative effects on gut health and metabolism.
In particular, a study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health in 2016 found a possible link between sucralose consumption and the development of leukemia in mice. Another study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health in 2008 found that long-term sucralose consumption resulted in a significant decrease in the size of the thymus gland in rats, which is important for immune system function and gut digestive function.
While these studies suggest that sucralose may have potential health risks, it is important to note that the doses given to the animals in the studies were much higher than what humans would typically consume. Furthermore, other studies have not found evidence of carcinogenic or toxic effects in humans.
Nevertheless, individuals with concerns about sucralose may consider alternative sweeteners or natural sweeteners.