Why You Might Gain Weight When Eating Small Portions

If eating three well-balanced meals a day was the best way to manage weight for us all, the world of dieting would likely cease to exist. Not only does the world of dieting exist, but the litany of fad diets on the market takes up a large portion of both our money and time. According to CNBC, the dieting industry is now a whopping $71 billion dollar industry. Everything from Keto to Paleo to the more obscure all-grapefruit diets — nearly all of them promise weight loss.

This is why if you've spent the extra time and money to be on a specific diet, it's extra frustrating if you see the number on the scale go up instead of down. Weight gain could be caused by really taking advantage of your "cheat days," or it could be from more of an unconscious misstep. Like eating little and too often, for example. That's right, weight gain can happen even when eating smaller portions, and here is why (via Eat This, Not That!).

Eating small portions too often can lead to extra fat storage

"Every time you eat, insulin is released to help stabilize the sugar being absorbed into your blood," registered dietitian Megan Byrd tells Eat This, Not That!. "Insulin is a 'fat-storing' hormone, so when you eat several times a day, you're triggering your hormones to store fat more often." Triggering your fat storage is not helpful when trying to maintain or lose weight, even if you are eating incredibly healthy, either too often (or too much of it).

"Foods like avocados, nuts, nut butters, hummus, cauliflower crust pizza, etc. are nutrient-rich for sure, but they still provide calories, and thus, you still need to watch your portion sizes," Amy Goodson, author of "The Sports Nutrition Playbook" tells Eat This, Not That!. Weight gain occurs when we take in more calories than we need to maintain our weight," she adds.

The best eating method to lose or gain weight is individual to all of us. And while you're looking for the diet that works for you, don't be discouraged if it takes some time. CNBC claims that studies have shown that 95% of diets fail at some point.