Obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. Transition from obesity to type 2 diabetes manifests in the dysregulation of hormones controlling glucose homeostasis and inflammation. As metabolism is a dynamic process that changes across 24 h, we assessed diurnal rhythmicity in a panel of 10 diabetes-related hormones. Plasma hormones were analysed every 2 h over 24 h in a controlled laboratory study with hourly isocaloric drinks during wake. To separate effects of body mass from type 2 diabetes, we recruited three groups of middle-aged men: an overweight (OW) group with type 2 diabetes and two control groups (lean and OW). Average daily concentrations of glucose, triacylglycerol and all the hormones except visfatin were significantly higher in the OW group compared to the lean group ( P < 0.001). In type 2 diabetes, glucose, insulin, C-peptide, glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide and glucagon-like peptide-1 increased further ( P < 0.05), whereas triacylglycerol, ghrelin and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 concentrations were significantly lower compared to the OW group ( P < 0.001). Insulin, C-peptide, glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide and leptin exhibited significant diurnal rhythms in all study groups ( P < 0.05). Other hormones were only rhythmic in 1 or 2 groups. In every group, hormones associated with glucose regulation (insulin, C-peptide, glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, ghrelin and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1), triacylglycerol and glucose peaked in the afternoon, whereas glucagon and hormones associated with appetite and inflammation peaked at night. Thus being OW with or without type 2 diabetes significantly affected hormone concentrations but did not affect the timing of the hormonal rhythms.