Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) epidemics, which have already spread, imply the possibility of both conditions being closely related. Thus, the goal of the present review was to draw a parallel between obesity, adipose tissue (AT) changes, and T2DM development. To this end, a search was conducted in PubMed, MEDLINE and SciELO databases, using the following key words and their combinations: obesity; diabetes; insulin resistance; diet; weight loss; adipocin; inflammation markers; and interleukins. Based on a literature review, AT dysfunction observed in obesity is characterised by adipocyte hypertrophy, macrophage infiltration, impaired insulin signalling and insulin resistance. In addition, there is release of inflammatory adipokines and an excessive amount of NEFA promoting ectopic fat deposition and lipotoxicity in muscle, liver and pancreas. Recent evidence supports the hypothesis that the conception of AT as a passive energy storage organ should be replaced by a dynamic endocrine organ, which regulates metabolism through a complex adipocyte communication with the surrounding microenvironment. The present review demonstrates how glucose homeostasis is changed by AT dysfunction. A better understanding of this relationship enables performing nutritional intervention strategies with the goal of preventing T2DM.