Despite obesity and diabetes markedly increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie this association remain poorly characterised. In the last 20 years it has become apparent that chronic, low-grade inflammation in obese adipose tissue may contribute to the risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, increased vascular pro-inflammatory signalling is a key event in the development of cardiovascular diseases. Overnutrition exacerbates pro-inflammatory signalling in vascular and adipose tissues, with several mechanisms proposed to mediate this. In this article, we review the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which nutrients are proposed to regulate pro-inflammatory signalling in adipose and vascular tissues. In addition, we examine the potential therapeutic opportunities that these mechanisms provide for suppression of inappropriate inflammation in obesity and vascular disease.