Interest in the application of phenolic compounds from the diet or supplements for the prevention of chronic diseases has grown substantially, but the efficacy of such approaches in humans is largely dependent on the bioavailability and metabolism of these compounds. Although food and dietary factors have been the focus of intense investigation, the impact of disease states such as obesity or diabetes on their absorption, metabolism, and eventual efficacy is important to consider. These factors must be understood in order to develop effective strategies that leverage bioactive phenolic compounds for the prevention of chronic disease. The goal of this review is to discuss the inducible metabolic systems that may be influenced by disease states and how these effects impact the bioavailability and metabolism of dietary phenolic compounds. Because current studies generally report that obesity and/or diabetes alter the absorption and excretion of these compounds, this review includes a description of the absorption, conjugation, and excretion pathways for phenolic compounds and how they are potentially altered in disease states. A possible mechanism that will be discussed related to the modulation of phenolic bioavailability and metabolism may be linked to increased inflammatory status from increased amounts of adipose tissue or elevated plasma glucose concentrations. Although more studies are needed, the translation of benefits derived from dietary phenolic compounds to individuals with obesity or diabetes may require the consideration of dosing strategies or be accompanied by adjunct therapies to improve the bioavailability of these compounds.