It’s sometimes called “Grazing.”
Trainers and fitness experts will try to beat this one into your head, despite the fact that it doesn’t always work for everyone, and despite the fact that there’s really no scientific basis for it.
The theory behind it is that if you eat smaller, more frequent meals, you won’t be as hungry, your insulin levels will be more stable, and overall, you’ll eat less and lose weight.
For some people it works (for the most part). By having frequent smaller meals they are able to avoid the larger binges that most Americans substitute for appropriate meals.
The problem is that for many people, they just end up eating a LOT more food in total.
I’ve seen trainers cajole clients into going from two (or even one) larger meal every day to 5 (supposedly) small meals a day, and not only did the client greatly dislike the new schedule, but they immediately started gaining weight.
Remember that our bodies developed to deal with the environments that existed thousands or even millions of years ago.
Our ancestors existed in a “feast or famine” mode where they would eat when they had food, and might go for days without eating. Our bodies are perfectly capable of adapting to infrequent meals.
I’ve found this strategy to be particularly bad for women who always eat dinner with a family, which may include a husband who is twice her size and perhaps a teenage son who eats everything in site.
She will sometimes find it nearly impossible to limit herself to the very small, carb restricted meal she should be consuming. You can get some useful information on http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/2989a78a-ee94-385e-808f-c9c7c38d1cb7.
The rest of her family may insist on having bread, pasta, potatoes, etc, which can easily exceed her calorie requirement for that meal or even the entire day.
Another disadvantage to eating many smaller meals: your body becomes overly accustomed to that schedule.