Adult growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a multifactorial disorder in which pituitary dysfunction associated with pituitary adenomas or their treatment plays a major role. The introduction of recombinant growth hormone (GH) for the treatment of GHD has opened up new treatment avenues but has also raised concerns about possible untoward long-term metabolic effects of GH, such as the potential effect of GH on insulin sensitivity and a deterioration in glucose tolerance. Research has shown that GH induces insulin resistance by the stimulation of lipolysis and a concomitant switch from oxidation of glucose to oxidation of lipids, during both acute and chronic treatment. However, although this is a consistent effect of GH therapy, it does not mean per se that it leads to abnormal glucose tolerance and diabetes mellitus. This article discusses this and other potential long-term metabolic effects of GH, and raises a number of questions to be addressed by future research.