Bacteria and mammals exhibit all aspects of symbiosis. Metabolic flux in bacteria and in specific host cells can influence host-microbe symbiotic relationships and tip the balance between mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. The relationship between microbes and host metabolism is bidirectional: microbes can influence host blood glucose, but glucose levels can influence the microbiota and host response to specific bacteria. A key consideration determining symbiotic relationships is compartmentalization of bacterial niches by mucosal, chemical, and physical barriers of the gut. We propose that compartmentalization of glucose levels in the blood versus the intestinal lumen is another important factor dictating host-microbe symbiosis. Host glucose and specific bacteria can modify the intestinal barrier, immune function, and antimicrobial defenses, which can then break down compartmentalization of microbes, alter glucose levels and impact symbiosis. Determining how glucose metabolism promotes mutualistic, commensal, and parasitic relationships within the entire microbiota community is relevant to glucose control in diabetes and enteric infections, which occur more often and have worse outcomes in diabetics.