Interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) are all implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Here we review mechanisms directing IL-1beta production and its pathogenic role in islet dysfunction during chronic hyperglycemia. In doing so, we integrate previously disparate disease-driving mechanisms for IL-1beta, ROS, and TXNIP in T2DM into one unifying model in which the NLRP3 inflammasome plays a central role. The NLRP3 inflammasome also drives IL-1beta maturation and secretion in another disease of metabolic dysregulation, gout. Thus, we propose that the NLRP3 inflammasome contributes to the pathogenesis of T2DM and gout by functioning as a sensor for metabolic stress.