Super Sizing the Last Supper

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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An analysis of the 52 most famous paintings of the Last Supper painted over the past 1,000 years finds they’ve gotten heftier over time. The analysis was facilitated by computer-aided design technology that allowed items in the paintings to be scanned, rotated, and their size calculated regardless of their orientation in the painting. The findings:

  • The size of the entrées has progressively grown 69 percent in the course of the millennium.
  • Plate size has increased 66 percent.
  • Bread size has increased ~23 percent.

The results suggest the phenomenon of serving bigger portions on bigger plates—which pushes people to overeat—has occurred gradually over the millennium. The research was conducted by Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, and his brother, Craig Wansink, professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, Va., and an ordained Presbyterian minister. Brian Wansink says:

“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.

The paper’s in April 2010 International Journal of Obesity.
 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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