The Lutein-free diet is one of several specific diets reported to be beneficial to people with autism spectrum disorders. It is based on the theory of phagocytosis of pigments first described by research nutritionist Sandra Desorgher (DPsy.) The Lutein-free diet is also known as 'Sara's Diet' The diet recommends excluding green vegetables high in lutein such as spinach and kale and some other vegetables and fruits, and replacing them with non-lutein alternatives such as lettuce, cabbage, blueberries and raspberries. The diet also involves eliminating all artificial food colorings and aspartame. The diet should be balanced to include all essential nutrients recommended by professionals, including those preventative of cancer and heart disease and should conform to government health recommendations, such as the UK government five a day campaign.
There is no peer-reviewed evidence of efficacy of the lutein-free diet for autism. Lutein is an antioxidant, considered to be important for healthy eyes, however the only randomized clinical trial to demonstrate a benefit for lutein in macular degeneration was a small study, in which the authors concluded that more study was needed.