Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide, accounting for approximately 75%-85% of primary liver cancers. Metabolic alterations have been labeled as an emerging hallmark of tumors. Specially, the last decades have registered a significant improvement in our understanding of the role of metabolism in driving the carcinogenesis and progression of HCC. In this paper, we provide a review of recent studies that investigated the metabolic traits of HCC with a specific focus on three common metabolic alterations involving glycolysis, lipid metabolism, and glutamine addiction which have been gaining much attention in the field of HCC. Next, we describe some representative diagnostic markers or tools, and promising treatment agents that are proposed on the basis of the aforementioned metabolic alterations for HCC. Finally, we present some challenges and directions that may promisingly speed up the process of developing objective diagnostic markers and therapeutic options underlying HCC. Specifically, we recommend future investigations to carefully take into account the influence of heterogeneity, control for study-specific confounds, and invite the validation of existing biomarkers.