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Researcher Discovers ‘Last Supper’ Portions Have Increased

March 23, 2010

While Jesus and the Apostles have always been larger than life figures for Christians around the world, it is the food that they ate at the Last Supper, not the Biblical figures themselves, that have become larger in size and stature over the years, according to a recent Cornell University study.

The research, conducted primarily by Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and of Applied Economics as well as the director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, studied 52 paintings depicting the well-known New Testament meal held shortly before Jesus’ arrest.

According to the report, which was published in the April 2010 edition of The International Journal of Obesity, his team discovered that both the amount of food and the size of the plates they were served on increased substantially over the years.

Specifically, a March 22 Cornell University press release states that “the size of the entr©es in paintings of the Last Supper”¦ has progressively grown 69 percent; plate size has increased 66 percent and bread size by about 23 percent, over the past 1,000 years.”

“The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food,” Wansink, author of ‘Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,’ said in the media statement. “We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history’s most famous dinner.”

The paintings studied were featured in the 2000 Phaidon Press book ‘Last Supper.’

Wansink served as the Executive Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion from 2007 through 2009, and his research is credited for the introduction of ’100 Calorie’ food packages. He was also named the ABC News Person of the Week for the week of January 4, 2008, and in 2007, he was a finalist for the Journal of Consumer Research’s Best Article Award.

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