Disturbances in fatty acid metabolism in adipose tissue, liver, skeletal muscle, gut and pancreas play an important role in the development of insulin resistance, impaired glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Alterations in diet composition may contribute to prevent and/or reverse these disturbances through modulation of fatty acid metabolism. Besides an increased fat mass, adipose tissue dysfunction, characterized by an altered capacity to store lipids and an altered secretion of adipokines, may result in lipid overflow, systemic inflammation and excessive lipid accumulation in non-adipose tissues like liver, skeletal muscle and the pancreas. These impairments together promote the development of impaired glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Furthermore, intrinsic functional impairments in either of these organs may contribute to lipotoxicity and insulin resistance. The present review provides an overview of fatty acid metabolism-related pathways in adipose tissue, liver, skeletal muscle, pancreas and gut, which can be targeted by diet or food components, thereby improving glucose metabolism.