Health benefits of lycopene from tomato products have been suggested to be related to its antioxidant activity. Dietary fat may influence the absorption and hence the plasma levels and antioxidant activity of lycopene. In the present study, we have compared the effect of consumption of tomato products with extra-virgin olive oil vs. tomato products plus sunflower oil on plasma lycopene and antioxidant levels. Results show that the oil composition does not affect the absorption of lycopene from tomato products because similar levels of plasma lycopene (mean +/- SD) were obtained on feeding tomatoes (providing approximately 46 mg lycopene/d) for 7 d with either olive oil (0.66 +/- 0.26 vs 1.20 +/- 0.20 micromol/l, p <.002) or sunflower oil (0.67 +/- 0.27 vs. 1.14 micromol/l, p <.001). However, consumption of tomato products with olive oil significantly raised the plasma antioxidant activity (FRAP) from 930 +/- 150 to 1118 +/- 184 micromol/l, p <.01) but no effect was observed when the sunflower oil was used. The change (supplementation minus start values) in FRAP following the consumption of tomato products with oil was significantly higher for olive oil (190 +/- 101) than for sunflower oil (-9.6 +/- 99, p <. 005). In conclusion, the results of the study show that consumption of tomato products with olive oil but not with sunflower oil improves the antioxidant activity of the plasma.