Oreo-like cookies

Photo: bhofack2/iStock/Thinkstock

2 of 8
Ditch the "Bad" Fats
Did you know that the biggest influence on your blood cholesterol level is the mix of fats in your diet—not the amount of cholesterol in your food? Although it's still important to limit dietary cholesterol, especially if you're diabetic, doctors say the amount of trans fats and saturated fats matter most. Saturated fats—found in red meat, whole milk dairy products like butter and cream, egg yolks, and oils such as coconut and palm kernel—raise your total cholesterol. Trans fats—found in margarine and most packaged cookies, crackers and cakes—are particularly bad because they raise your levels of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) while lowering levels of the "good" kind (HDL). Plus, trans fats also cause your liver to produce more cholesterol. The key to a healthy diet is choosing good fats instead of bad ones. That's why the American Heart Association recommends that you get less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fats and less than 1 percent from trans fats.