It is widely accepted that increasing adiposity is associated with insulin resistance and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The predominant paradigm used to explain this link is the portal/visceral hypothesis. This hypothesis proposes that increased adiposity, particularly in the visceral depots, leads to increased free fatty acid flux and inhibition of insulin action via Randle's effect in insulin-sensitive tissues. Recent data do not entirely support this hypothesis. As such, two new paradigms have emerged that may explain the established links between adiposity and disease.