Dairy food comprises a range of different products with varying nutritional components. In the context of a healthy diet, dairy food may provide protection against and amelioration of chronic diseases related to obesity. These include overweight, insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome/type 2 diabetes, hypertension/stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Eliciting how dairy food may have this impact represents a challenge for modern nutritional science and requires an integration of knowledge from observational studies of population dietary patterns and disease prevalence, and experimental studies testing the effect of dairy food consumption. It also benefits from the recent identification of biomarkers of dairy fat intake and from mechanistic studies that support the plausibility of the observed effects. Future research might discriminate between types of dairy foods and focus on the synergy provided by the food matrix, rather than simply the component parts of the food.