Potato chips have never been considered a healthy food and the study referred to here provides even more evidence for how unhealthy it is. The study was small, but interesting since several inflammatory markers were measured (Naruszewicz M, et al.). The participants were both females and males with an average age of 35 years, some of them were smokers.
160 g of potato chips were ingested daily for a period of 4 weeks. That amount of chips contained 157 mg of acrylamide, a toxic by product of food processing. Tests revealed that acrylamide increased in the blood of all participants, but more in the smokers.
What was also found to increase was oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol), gamma glutamyltransferase concentrations (a liver enzyme), and the 2 inflammatory markers high sensitivity interleukin-6, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. A significant increase in reactive oxygen radical production by monocytes, lymphocytes, and granulocytes and an increase in CD14 expression in macrophages were also detected. These cells are white blood cells. These changes indicate an increase in inflammation, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis progression (build up in the arteries).
If you want a snack, choose something other than potato chips, fruit for example is a much better choice.
Naruszewicz M, et al. Chronic intake of potato chips in humans increases the production of reactive oxygen radicals by leukocytes and increases plasma C-reactive protein: a pilot study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar;89(3):773-7.