How the Last Supper turned into a feast

A pair of boffins with nothing better to do have analysed 52 paintings of the Last Supper painted in the millennium between 1000 and 2000AD.

The startlling revelation they came up with is that the food on the table grew to massive proportions over the centuries, as the church became richer and the frugal natue of Jesus' "message" diluted.

The pair scanned the pictures out of a book and used CAD software to work out the size of the partially-burnt offerings

The size of the main dish grew 69 per cent; the size of the plate, 66 per cent, and the bread, 23 per cent, between the years 1000 and 2000 the boffins calculated.

"The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food," said Brian Wansink, professor of marketing and applied economics at Cornell University, New York. "We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history's most famous dinner," he burbled.

The study is published in the International Journal of Obesity, is co-authored by Wansink brother and his brother Craig, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia.