Under conditions of high nutrient availability and low ATP synthesis, mitochondria generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) that must be removed to avoid cell injury. Among the enzymes involved in this scavenging process, peroxidases play a crucial role, using NADPH provided mostly by nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (NNT). However, scarce information is available on how and to what extent ROS formation is linked to mitochondrial oxygen consumption. A new study by Smith et al. shows that NNT activity maintains low ROS levels by means of a fine modulation of mitochondrial oxygen utilization.