CONTEXT Traditional Iranian medicine (TIM) is a rich and valuable school of thought that believes medications are not the only effective approach for the treatment of diseases but that nutrition is also important. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION Our study includes two parts; the first is a book review of the Canon of Medicine by Avicenna (10th and 11th centuries), in which we focus on finding and understanding Avicenna's point of view. In the second part, we searched for "food reduction" as a key word from 2000 to 2015 in databases such as Google Scholar, PubMed, Copernicus, DOAJ, EBSCO-CINAHL, and the Iranian search database Iranmedex for principles of food reduction in classical medicine. RESULTS The main methods of treatment in traditional medicine include changes in lifestyle, especially diet, the use of medications, and the use of manipulation methods. For diet, the individual may be prohibited from eating or food amounts may be decreased or increased. Centuries ago, Avicenna was making use of methods of food reduction as an important therapeutic approach in the treatment of diseases. According to him, food reduction, to the extent that it does not cause energy loss helps to cure disease. Avicenna has proposed food reduction as an aid to treating a variety of ailments such as headaches and reflux. CONCLUSIONS Today, a variety of basic and clinical research has shown that food reduction or calorie restriction to a standard level can effectively prevent and treat a variety of diseases such as neoplasms, diabetes, and kidney disease. Practical principles explained by traditional Iranian medicine, in particular Avicenna, could open important and quite uncomplicated strategies for the prevention and treatment of diseases.