This short overview focuses on the causation and treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Emphasis is given to the historical basis of understanding this disease and the background leading to emergence of the central role of insulin. The strengths of insulin administration in the treatment of diabetes are profound, but these need to be balanced against several serious shortcomings of its extended use. Some alternative approaches to T2D management are considered. Insulin is no longer considered as the first choice for type 2 diabetes, and an expanding range of new therapeutic possibilities is emerging. While these may lack the potency of insulin, at a minimum, they allow a major reduction in the intensity of insulin use. In view of the rising worldwide incidence of this disease, it is imperative to develop safe and inexpensive means of limiting its potential for impairment of normal functioning.