Growing evidence suggests that food intake, energy expenditure and endogenous glucose production are regulated by hypothalamic areas that respond to a variety of peripheral signals. Therefore, in response to a reduction in energy stores or circulating nutrients, the brain initiates responses in order to promote positive energy balance to restore and maintain energy and glucose homeostasis. In contrast, in times of nutrient abundance and excess energy storage, key hypothalamic areas activate responses to promote negative energy balance (i.e. reduced food intake and increased energy expenditure) and decreased nutrient availability (reduced endogenous glucose production). Accordingly, impaired responses or 'resistance' to afferent input from these hormonal or nutrient-related signals would be predicted to favour weight gain and insulin resistance and may contribute to the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.