Circadian rhythms make a critical contribution to endocrine functions that involve adipose tissue. These contributions are made at the systemic, organ and stem cell levels. The transcription factors and enzymes responsible for the maintenance of circadian rhythms in adipose depots and other peripheral tissues that are metabolically active have now been identified. Furthermore, the circadian regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism is well-established. Animal and human models provide strong evidence that disturbances in circadian pathways are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity and their comorbidities. Thus, circadian mechanisms represent a novel putative target for therapy in patients with metabolic diseases.