Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Obesity and The Last Supper

Could the key to American obesity be found in artists' renderings of the Last Supper? Some scholars think so.

From the American Farm Bureau Federation:

Looking at the 52 paintings of The Last Supper, the meal entrees gradually grew by about 70 percent and the bread by 23 percent. Furthermore, the size of the apostles’ plates increased by nearly 66 percent.

While some critics blame modern farming and the advent of take-out food in the last 40 years for America’s fat problem, the authors instead suggest it's a natural consequence of “dramatic socio-historic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food” that started more than 1,000 years ago.

Writer Tracy Taylor Grondine continues:

One can argue that food portions have grown significantly over the last 20 years. Take movie popcorn for example. Twenty years ago the average size of the theater treat was five cups, equal to 270 calories. Today, movie goers instead typically buy a tub that weighs in at 630 calories.

The super size trend continues in everything from bagels to burgers to pasta dishes to desserts. What used to be considered an extra large soda is now deemed a medium. Unfortunately, America’s waistbands have reacted accordingly. Approximately 65 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

According to the article, your hamburger should be the size of a deck of cards, a slice of bread the size of a cassette tape, a baked potato the size of a computer mouse, and a portion of pasta the size of a tennis ball. To me, that sounds like a serious diet during Lent.

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