Generally speaking when saturated fat replaces unsaturated fat, HDL is increased, and further, when fats replace carbs, HDL is again increased along with a general shift in the particle size of LDL from the overall increase in dietary fat, so primally speaking, saturated fat is king. The bigger the particle size of LDL the better, and natural saturated fat promotes larger particles. It's the small particle LDL's that get caught between the cellular structure in our artery walls and start to oxidize from the lack of movement which causes inflammation and CHD, and a high carb diet especially a high refined carb diet promotes small particles and lowers HDL and this direct correlation is found in numerous studies. Of course there's many factors that react negatively to our cholesterol levels other than diet.
Think of cholesterol as a substance, and HDL and LDL as vehicles (lipoproteins) that transport that substance. Our body regulates cholesterol with a feedback mechanism that keeps our levels constant and it's basically the reason why consuming cholesterol doesn't effect our serum cholesterol levels. For example, consuming a whole egg has both cholesterol and saturated fat, so CW dictates that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad therefore we should reduce our consumption of eggs, and a whole industry has sprung up catering to this CW with products like "egg beaters" leaving out both cholesterol and saturated fat. But in actual fact consuming eggs increases our overall HDL and increases the particle sizes of our LDL, so in fact eating eggs regardless of the type of diet consumed, is less atherogenic. Hope this helps a little.
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