What Would Jesus Eat?: Why the "Last Supper" has been super-sized

In an unexpected portrayal of art imitating life, a new study of the biblical scene of Christ's last supper with the disciples indicates that the portion and plate sizes on the famous table have gotten startlingly larger over the past thousand years.

The research was conducted by Brian Wansink, a Cornell University professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, also authored the book "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Thank We Think" and formerly blogged on Shine. He partnered with brother Craig Wansink, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College, to analyze 52 paintings collected in the book "Last Supper." The pair used a computer design program to juxtapose the size of the food and plates with the average size of the human heads depicted in the paintings.

Their research showed that the size of the plates has progressively increased 66%, the meal has grown 69%, and the bread size has been boosted by 23%.

Brian Wansink says the findings of this study of the "history's most famous dinner" are indicative of our access and attitudes about eating.

"The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food," he said.

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