The metabolic processes related to the synthesis of the molecules needed for a new round of cell division underlie the complex behaviour of cell populations in multi-cellular systems, such as tissues and organs, whereas their deregulation can lead to pathological states, such as cancer. Even within genetically homogeneous populations, complex dynamics, such as population oscillations or the emergence of specific metabolic and/or proliferative patterns, may arise, and this aspect is highly amplified in systems characterized by extreme heterogeneity. To investigate the conditions and mechanisms that link metabolic processes to cell population dynamics, we here employ a previously introduced multi-scale model of multi-cellular system, named FBCA (Flux Balance Analysis with Cellular Automata), which couples biomass accumulation, simulated via Flux Balance Analysis of a metabolic network, with the simulation of population and spatial dynamics via Cellular Potts Models. In this work, we investigate the influence that different modes of nutrients diffusion within the system may have on the emerging behaviour of cell populations. In our model, metabolic communication among cells is allowed by letting secreted metabolites to diffuse over the lattice, in addition to diffusion of nutrients from given sources. The inclusion of the diffusion processes in the model proved its effectiveness in characterizing plausible biological scenarios.