Friday, March 26, 2010

Man does not live on bread alone...

Examination of paintings of the Last Supper have shown that portion size has increased dramatically over the years.

"If art imitates life and if food portions have been generally increasing with time, we might expect this trend to be reflected in paintings that depict food" according to Brian and Craig Wansink, the former a economist and the later a theologian.

Writing in the International Journal of Obesity, the academics compared the "food-to-head ratio" in 52 of the best known depictions of the Last Supper. In 18% of the paintings, the attendees were depicting as enjoying fish as their main dish. Lamb (14%) and pork (7%) were also recorded with 46% of the paintings having no discernable main dish.

The authors showed a significant positive relationship between the relative size of that main dish and the passage of time from 1000 BC - 2000 BC. This means that as time progressed, portion size got larger.

"The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food. We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history's most famous dinner", said co-author Brian Wansink.


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