The present study examined the effect of milk phospholipids (milk-PL) on lipid metabolism and on other risk factors for CVD, in comparison with milk fat (control) or soya phospholipids (soya-PL), respectively. Two double-blind parallel-group intervention trials were conducted in overweight or obese male subjects. In the first trial (trial 1), sixty-two men consumed milk enriched with either 2 g milk-PL or 2 g milk fat (control) for 8 weeks. In trial 2, fifty-seven men consumed milk enriched with either 3 g milk-PL or 2·8 g soya-PL for 7 weeks. In trial 1, milk-PL as compared with control reduced waist circumference but did not affect plasma lipids (total, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio, TAG, phospholipids), apoB, apoA1, glucose, insulin, insulin sensitivity index, C-reactive protein, IL-6, soluble intracellular adhesion molecule and total homocysteine (tHcy). Serum activities of alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase were not changed. Activity of γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT), a marker of fatty liver, increased in the control but not in the milk-PL group, with a significant intervention effect. In trial 2, milk-PL as compared with soya-PL did not affect the above-mentioned parameters, but decreased GGT. Subjects with the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase mutations CT and TT had 11 % (P < 0·05) higher baseline tHcy concentrations than those with the wild-type CC. However, genotype did not modulate the phospholipid intervention effect on tHcy. In conclusion, supplementation with milk-PL as compared with control fat reduced waist circumference and, as compared with both control fat and soya-PL, GGT activity.