The endosomal system plays an essential role in cell homeostasis by controlling cellular signaling, nutrient sensing, cell polarity and cell migration. However, its place in the regulation of tissue, organ and whole body physiology is less well understood. Recent studies have revealed an important role for the endosomal system in regulating glucose and lipid homeostasis, with implications for metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. By taking insights from in vitro studies of endocytosis and exploring their effects on metabolism, we can begin to connect the fields of endosomal transport and metabolic homeostasis. In this review, we explore current understanding of how the endosomal system influences the systemic regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism in mice and humans. We highlight exciting new insights that help translate findings from single cells to a wider physiological level and open up new directions for endosomal research.