Many studies have shown that caloric restriction (40%) decreases mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in rodents. Moreover, we have recently found that 7 weeks of 40% protein restriction without strong caloric restriction also decreases ROS production in rat liver. This is interesting since it has been reported that protein restriction can also extend longevity in rodents. In the present study we have investigated the possible role of dietary lipids in the effects of caloric restriction on mitochondrial oxidative stress. Using semipurified diets, the ingestion of lipids in male Wistar rats was decreased by 40% below controls, while the other dietary components were ingested at exactly the same level as in animals fed ad libitum. After 7 weeks of treatment the liver mitochondria of lipid-restricted animals showed significant increases in oxygen consumption with complex I-linked substrates (pyruvate/malate and glutamate/malate). Neither mitochondrial H2O2 production nor oxidative damage to mitochondrial or nuclear DNA was modified in lipid-restricted animals. Oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA was one order of magnitude higher than that of nuclear DNA in both dietary groups. These results deny a role for lipids and reinforce the possible role of dietary proteins as being responsible for the decrease in mitochondrial ROS production and DNA damage in caloric restriction.