Diabetes mellitus is a looming epidemic worldwide, affecting almost all major sections of society, creating burdens on global health and economy. A large number of studies have identified a series of multiple risk factors such as genetic predisposition, epigenetic changes, unhealthy lifestyle, and altered gut microbiota that cause increased adiposity, β-cell dysfunction, hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, adiposity, dyslipidaemia, metabolic endotoxemia, systemic inflammation, intestinal permeability (leaky gut), defective secretion of incretins and oxidative stress associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Recent studies have proposed multifactorial interventions including dietary manipulation in the management of T2D. The same interventions have also been recommended by many national and international diabetes associations. These studies are aimed at deciphering the gut microbial influence on health and disease. Interestingly, results from several genomic, metagenomic and metabolomic studies have provided substantial information to target gut microbiota by dietary interventions for the management of T2D. Probiotics particularly lactobacilli and bifidobacteria have recently emerged as the prospective biotherapeutics with proven efficacy demonstrated in various in vitro and in vivo animal models adequately supported with their established multifunctional roles and mechanism of action for the prevention and disease treatment. The dietary interventions in conjunction with probiotics – a novel multifactorial strategy to abrogate progression and development of diabetes – hold considerable promise through improving the altered gut microbial composition and by targeting all the possible risk factors. This review will highlight the new developments in probiotic interventions and future prospects for exploring probiotic therapy in the prevention and control of lifestyle diseases like T2D. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.