Short-term fasting protects tumor-bearing mice against the toxic effects of chemotherapy while enhancing therapeutic efficacy. We randomized 131 patients with HER2-negative stage II/III breast cancer, without diabetes and a BMI over 18 kg m-2, to receive either a fasting mimicking diet (FMD) or their regular diet for 3 days prior to and during neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Here we show that there was no difference in toxicity between both groups, despite the fact that dexamethasone was omitted in the FMD group. A radiologically complete or partial response occurs more often in patients using the FMD (OR 3.168, P = 0.039). Moreover, per-protocol analysis reveals that the Miller&Payne 4/5 pathological response, indicating 90-100% tumor-cell loss, is more likely to occur in patients using the FMD (OR 4.109, P = 0.016). Also, the FMD significantly curtails chemotherapy-induced DNA damage in T-lymphocytes. These positive findings encourage further exploration of the benefits of fasting/FMD in cancer therapy. Trial number: NCT02126449.