The Last Supper: “Wanna Supersize That?”

Ever hear of the International Journal of Obesity? Presumably First Lady Michelle Obama has, but so has evidently Germany’s Frankfurter Rundschau, which has an article up now (no author by-line) entitled “The Last Supper” reveals mankind has become ever-more gluttonous.

“The Last Supper”? Right – that fresco painted in the late fifteenth century by Leonardo on a refectory wall in a convent in Milan. Researchers (and brothers) Brian and Craig Wansink were wondering how to compare food-portion sizes of today with those of centuries ago, and hit upon the idea of going to paintings from past periods to get that information, eventually settling on using Leonardo’s famous work.

They published their findings here, but unless you happen to be really into obesity studies, to the point of having a paid subscription to the Journal, that won’t tell you much. But the FR journalist has read the article, so you don’t have to. And as you probably would expect, the Wansink brothers’ careful measurements of plate and portion sizes in Leonardo’s work revealed that plate sizes have increased by 66 percent over the last five centures and portions by 69% (oh, and the size of bread-rolls by 23%).

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