Increasing evidence implicates dietary factors in the progression of diseases, including certain cancers, diabetes and obesity. Diet also regulates the expression and function of CYP genes, which impacts on drug elimination and may also significantly affect disease pathogenesis. Upregulation of CYPs 2E1 and 4A occurs after feeding of experimental diets that are high in fats or carbohydrates; these diets also promote hepatic lipid infiltration, which is a component of the metabolic syndrome that characterises obesity. Increased availability of lipid substrates for CYPs can enhance free radical production and exacerbate tissue injury. Similar processes may also occur in other models of experimental disease states that exhibit a component of altered nutrient utilization. Food-derived chemicals, including constituents of cruciferous vegetables and fruits, modulate CYP expression and the expression of genes that encode cytoprotective phase II enzymes. Certain dietary indoles and flavonoids activate CYP1A expression either by direct ligand interaction with the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) or by augmenting the interaction of the AhR with xenobiotic response elements in CYP1A1 and other target genes. Other dietary chemicals, including methylenedioxyphenyl (MDP) compounds and isothiocyanates also modulate CYP gene expression. Apart from altered CYP regulation, a number of dietary agents also inhibit CYP enzyme activity, leading to pharmacokinetic interactions with coadministered drugs. A well described example is that of grapefruit juice, which contains psoralens and possibly other chemicals, that inactivate intestinal CYP3A4. Decreased presystemic oxidation by this CYP increases the systemic bioavailability of drug substrates and the likelihood of drug toxicity. Dietary interactions may complicate drug therapy but inhibition of certain CYP reactions may also protect the individual against toxic metabolites and free radicals generated by CYPs. Chemicals in teas and cruciferous vegetables may also inhibit human CYP enzymes that have been implicated in the bioactivation of chemical carcinogens. Thus, food constituents modulate CYP expression and function by a range of mechanisms, with the potential for both deleterious and beneficial outcomes.