We evaluated the effects of high-Ca fat-free milk v. low-Ca control diet on adiposity and on glycaemic control. Fourteen subjects with type 2 diabetes (aged 49·5 (sd 8·6) years, BMI 29·4 (sd 4·5) kg/m2, low habitual Ca consumption (<600 mg/d)) were included in this randomised, crossover clinical trial. Subjects participated in two 12-week experimental sessions (high-Ca fat-free milk (HC) or low-Ca control (LC)) separated by 8-week washout. Subjects daily consumed in the laboratory a breakfast shake containing 700 mg (HC) or 6·4 mg (LC) of Ca. Energy-restricted diets containing 800 mg of dietary Ca/d were prescribed. Dietary records data indicated the consumption of 1200 mg of Ca/d during HC and of 525 mg of Ca/d during LC. There was a greater reduction in body weight, body fat mass, waist circumference and waist:hip ratio after HC. Serum 25-hydoxyvitamin D and homeostatic model assessment-2 β-cell function (HOMA2-%B) increased, and serum uric acid, parathormone (PTH) and glycated Hb (HbA1c) concentrations reduced after HC. In addition, changes from baseline in terms of serum uric acid, glucose, HbA1c and PTH concentrations were lower, and those of HOMA2-%B, serum Ca and 25-hydoxyvitamin D were higher after the HC than after LC. The consumption of approximately three servings of fat-free milk and 1200 mg of dietary Ca/d enhanced weight loss, improved body composition and promoted glycaemic control in subjects with type 2 diabetes and low habitual Ca consumption (<600 mg/d).