The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the Hipcref (high-protein, energy-restricted, high-vitamin E and high-fibre) diet in Malaysian adults on body composition and metabolic parameters after an intervention period of 6 months. Overweight/obese Malaysian adults (n 128; BMI≥23 kg/m2) were randomised to the Hipcref (n 65) or control diet (n 63). The intervention group received Hipcref diet charts based on their personal preferences. The control group followed a generalised dietary advice based on Malaysian Dietary Guidelines, 2010. All participants were responsible for preparing their own meals. There was a significant treatment group×time effect on anthropometric parameters (P<0·05) on an intention-to-treat basis. Pairwise comparisons revealed that Hipcref diet participants had significant reduction in weight, BMI, waist circumference, fat mass and percentage body fat at months 3 and 6 compared with baseline (P<0·001). The control group had significant increase in weight and BMI at months 3 and 6 compared with baseline (P<0·05). The Hipcref diet group had higher reduction in fasting insulin, insulin resistance and C-reactive protein levels compared with the control group at month 6 (P<0·05). Post-intervention, compared with the control group, the Hipcref diet group was found to consume significantly higher percentage energy from protein, and PUFA, higher energy-adjusted vitamin E (mg) and fibre (g), and lower total energy, lower percentage energy from fat and carbohydrate (P<0·05). The success of the Hipcref diet on overweight/obese Malaysian adults may be due to the combined effect of the nutrient composition of the Hipcref diet.