Fatty liver and hepatic triglyceride accumulation are strongly associated with obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and are subject to nutritional influences. Hepatic regulation of glucose and lipid homeostasis is influenced by a complex system of hormones, hormonally regulated signalling pathways and transcription factors. Recently, considerable progress has been made in elucidating molecular pathways and potential factors that are affected in insulin-resistant states. In this review we discuss some of the key factors that are involved in both the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism in the liver. Understanding the molecular network that links hepatic lipid accumulation and impaired glucose metabolism may provide targets for dietary or pharmacological interventions.