There's a lot of research on snacking and you can imagine why. We snack a lot and it is a major contributor to the obesity problem today.
One thing that the research shows is that people are most often either a sweet snacker or a salty/savory snacker. Basically, you either prefer to snack on one or the other and it's the salty snacker that should be eating nuts and not junk (Snack Right! 8/18/06).
Nuts get a bit of a bad rap because they are high in calories and fat, but we know that this is fat that's good for you (Nuts in The Mediterranean Diet). There's tons of research now that shows so much good about nuts, from the fact that snacking on them won't put weight on you, to the ability of nuts like almonds and walnuts to help improve your cholesterol profile (More reason to eat nuts, 11/29/06). A report in this month's British Journal of Nutrition, for example, showed that eating about 2 ounces of almonds didn't result in weight gain and lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Of course, almost all of these studies are funded by the various associations that represent growers of nuts. That said, the Snack Food Association doesn't have research showing that potato chips help your health in any way.
You guessed it: potato chips. This of course includes snack foods like Fritos, Cheetos, Funyuns, crackers, Goldfish and on and on. Amazing but Americans eat about 15 pounds of snack foods per person per year. That's a lot of calories that are basically empty of any real nutritional value.
Replace your 15 pounds of Fritos with 15 pounds of nuts. You'll be healthier and will likely weigh less than if you ate the corn chips.