Study: Last Supper portions grew

March 23, 2010 at 6:02 PM
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LOS ANGELES, March 23 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said their analysis of 52 artistic renditions of the New Testament's Last Supper found the portions depicted have grown over the years.

Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, and his brother, Craig Wansink, a biblical scholar at Virginia Wesleyan College, said their study of 52 depictions of Jesus' final Passover supper, created between 1000 and 2000, found entree portions increased by 70 percent during the millennium while bread portions increased by 23 percent, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The brothers said they used a computer program to compare the size of the depicted food to the sizes of the apostle's heads in the paintings.

"I think people assume that increased serving sizes, or 'portion distortion,' is a recent phenomenon," Brian Wansink said. "But this research indicates that it's a general trend for at least the last millennium.

"The contemporary discovery of increasing food portions and availability may be little more than 1,000-year-old wine in a new bottle," the Wansinks wrote in their study.

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