Is Jesus making you overeat?

Well, in fairness, Jesus’ twelve Apostles should also share in the blame.

An incredibly quirky and yet fascinating study was published in the International Journal of Obesity which investigated the size of the food and plates that have been depicted in paintings of Jesus’ Last Supper over the last 1000 years.

The trend of gradually increasing portion sizes is well documented; just go to your local McDonalds and order a large drink and fries and drive yourself directly to the nearby hospital for a bypass.

Thus, Wansink & Wansink decided to directly compare the portion sizes in various historical renderings of what is considered to be the most famous meal ever.

As you’d expect, over the past 1000 years, Jesus and his apostles have progressively grown bigger appetites.


“From its depiction circa 1000 AD/CE to the present, the ratio of this main course entree has generally increased by 69.2%. Similarly, the ratio of the size of bread has increased by 23.1% and that of the size of plate by 65.6%.”

So there you have it, if you have a more recent rendering of The Last Supper hanging in your dining room, the depictions of plentiful food had by Jesus and his friends, may just push you to eat that second helping of dry bread and fish.

Just remember- “What would Jesus do?”


Originally posted on Obesity Panacea in March 2010.

Wansink, B., & Wansink, C. (2010). The largest Last Supper: depictions of food portions and plate size increased over the millennium International Journal of Obesity DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2010.37

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