"Supersizing" - a term that became popular in the mid-1990s and describes the ability of McDonalds' customers to increase portion sizes - is often considered a modern phenomenon. But "what we see recently may be just a more noticeable part of a very long trend," said Brian Wansink, a food behaviour scientist at Cornell University who conducted the study with his brother Craig, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia.Yes, amazingly, there's enough money sloshing around in US universities to employ Brian and his bro to compare the food portion sizes in paintings of the last supper.
"We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history's most famous dinner," he added.
Nice work if you can get it, right?
Computer technology allowed the brothers to scan, rotate and calculate images regardless of their orientation in the paintings, judging the size of the portions against the size of the heads of the disciples.Oh, boy. They spared no expense, did they? Imagine the shame of the computer modeller who had to set that one up.
Presumably, this was for some art project, or somethi...
Details of the study will be published in the April issue of the International Journal of Obesity.*sigh*
But some questioned the accuracy of the study.No kidding! Just the accuracy, or the pointlessness of it, too?
The study is "not very meaningful science," said Martin Binks, a behavioural health psychologist and a consultant at Duke University Medical Centre. "We have real life examples of the increase in portion size - all you have to do is look at what's being sold at fast-food restaurants."Well, yes. But to do that, you have to mingle with real people.
And there's always the danger one of them might ask what you do for a living...