Doctors agree that long-term weight loss is crucial to manage diabetes and heart disease risk. But what kind of diet should diabetics follow? The key is to cut calories and not put pressure on yourself to follow either a high-carb or high-protein diet, according to study findings presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting and reported by HealthDay News.

For the study, researchers from the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, followed nearly 300 overweight men and women on a new, two-year nutritional program. All participants were moderately overweight and had type 2 diabetes. (Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the condition, is a chronic disease marked by high levels of sugar or glucose in the blood.)

Scientists randomly assigned each participant to one of two dietary groups: a low-fat/high-protein group or a low-fat /high-carb group. For the first half of the year, participants attended twice-weekly group sessions with a dietician then transitioned into monthly meetings. Their weight and waist circumference were measured at six months, 12 months and two years.

Researchers found that while participants lost a similar amount of weight regardless of diet, and both diets afforded similar benefits, the main factor driving sustained weight loss was calorie reduction.

“The bottom-line is that the issue for weight loss is calories, not where the calories come from,” said Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Oh, yes, this also holds true for people who don’t have type 2 diabetes. (Translation: Fuggedabout those fad diets, please.)

Did you know that just by eating healthier foods—not necessarily dropping pounds—you can reduce your diabetes risk? Click here to read more.