Tomatoes may have beneficial effects on prostate health. Efficacy trials would require long-term adherence to high levels of tomato product (TP) consumption. Therefore, factors that affect adherence in men most at risk and whether increased consumption of TP negatively affects diet and health are important concerns. Cancer-free African–American (AA) men (n 36) with mean serum prostate-specific antigen of 7.4 SD 5.6) ng/ml were randomised to consume one serving of TP/d or a control diet for 3 months. Mean intervention group lycopene intake rose to 464%, with negligible control group increase. Plasma lycopene levels rose by 53 and 40% in the intervention group in months 1 and 3, respectively (P < 0.0001), with no control group change. The intervention group’s barriers to adherence score was inversely associated with both dietary (r -0.49, P = 0.02) and plasma lycopene concentration (r -0.37, P = 0.02). Their TP disadvantage score negatively correlated with the 3-month plasma lycopene concentrations (r -0.37, P = 0.008) and their weekly incentives and impediments were remarkably stable, ‘concern for prostate health’ being the most consistent over time. ‘Liking tomatoes’ and ‘study participation’ decreased in citation frequency at weeks 6 and 9, respectively. No major shifts occurred in dietary cholesterol or saturated fat, with no adverse effects on gastrointestinal complaints, serum total cholesterol, body weight or blood pressure. Lower socio-economic status AA men at higher prostate cancer risk can successfully achieve a whole food intervention goal with a corresponding rise in plasma lycopene concentrations, with no adverse effects on self-selected diet quality or health parameters.