Just when you thought you were doing mother nature a favour by cutting down on your meat consumption, it turns out eating leafy greens can be just as "bad."

According to a recent report from the University of Missouri-Columbia, even though previous studies suggest plant growth can be influenced by things like wind and touch, researchers are now determined that plants also have the ability to respond to the sounds of being chewed.

“We found that feeding vibrations signal changes in the plant cells’ metabolism, creating more defensive chemicals that can repel attacks from caterpillars,” said senior research scientist Heidi Appel in a statement.

Basically, plants in the study were able to "hear" themselves being eaten, creating a type of defense mode against their prey, the caterpillar.

Using a special laser microphone, the scientist were able to record the vibrations and sounds of caterpillars chewing on plant leaves. With these recordings, the scientists played them to the plants before caterpillars had a chance to nibble. As it turns out, when plants were exposed to these chewing vibrations for a few hours, they reacted by producing mustard oils — which caterpillars hate!

Now while this question of plants having feelings too (which makes a horrible counterargument for going vegan or vegetarian) has been busted by MythBusters in the past, researchers say this study is meant to protect plants in their natural environments.. and not your mouth.

"Understanding how plants detect and respond to sounds in their environment provides us with new ways to help plants defend themselves against their insect pests," she adds.

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    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Well, you kill plants!" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Tell you what, I'll watch 10 minutes of someone cutting up carrots, you watch 10 minutes of cows being slaughtered and we'll see who's still hungry. <a href="https://twitter.com/ComedyCarter" target="_blank">-- Nick, Toronto </a>

  • You're Not A Man

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Real men eat meat!" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> This is misinformed and sexist. Men -- people -- can be whoever they want and I still weight-lift, listen to metal, have a girlfriend and sport a mean lumberjack beard. I can afford to eat a salad or two. -- Josh, Toronto

  • #2 Must Be Awesome

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "You must be very regular." <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Uh. Sure. I just met you. Not sure if I want to discuss my bowel movement frequency with you. -- Anjali, Toronto

  • They Will Take Over

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> 'If we don't eat them they will take over the world." <strong>The Comeback:</strong> That is my personal favourite...as if farm animals are running around fornicating freely. -- Lynda, Montreal

  • We Never Eat Out

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "What do you eat at restaurants?." <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Food. What do you eat? -- Anita, Toronto

  • Can I Still Eat Meat?

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Oh, but do you mind if I order meat?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> "I don't care what you do with your life." -- Roop, London, U.K.

  • But They Are Made Of Meat...

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "If animals weren't meant to be eaten, why are they made of meat?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Other than wanting to trip [my co-worker] as he walks away, I'm dying to say, "People are made of meat too, so why don't you go home and gobble up your wife and kids for dinner and let me know how you feel?" -- Cindy, Ottawa

  • Parents In Panic

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "How do your parents feel about that choice?” <strong>The Comeback:</strong> I used to get that as a teenager a lot. It made me laugh because I would reply – they feel great about it, they’re vegetarian too. -- Shachi, Vancouver

  • Nutrition! Nutrition!

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "You need protein to live!" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> 100 calories of ground beef has 4 grams of protein. 100 calories of spinach has 13 grams. Bye. -- Dana, Vancouver

  • But Bacon?

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "What about bacon?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> I realize the Internet is losing its mind about bacon right now, but I do not feel like something is missing in my life because I can't eat bacon-infused ice cream or some other unholy combination. -- Steph, Toronto

  • Life Must Suck

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "I feel so sorry for you." <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Don't feel sorry for me ... I chose this lifestyle.

  • Nothing Left To Eat

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Then what do you eat?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Um, food that doesn't have parents? -- Anjali, Toronto

  • We Make Friends With Salad

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "You must eat a lot of salad?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Yes, I'm basically a rabbit and all I eat is lettuce. Seriously – there's more to being a vegetarian than a bowl of lettuce. -- Anita, Toronto

  • Pay Attention To Me!

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "That’s great! I barely eat any red meat/meat/animal products any more.” <strong>The Comeback:</strong> The minute you tell someone you don’t eat meat or fish, they’ll tell you how they’re “really cutting back” on the amount of meat they eat. In a way it’s sweet that they are finding common ground or identifying with your choice, but I always get the sense they feel the need to tell me and I just don't care. -- Shachi, Vancouver

  • But What About This?

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "So you don't eat bread or pasta?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Dude, most bread and pasta are vegan. It amazes me how much people don't know what their food is made of. -- Valerie, Montreal

  • Ew, Tofu

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Tofu is so disgusting!" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> So is the bloody, tendon-filled carcass of a dead animal. -- Dana, Vancouver

  • But It Tastes So Good!

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "But how can you resist eating! meat? It's so tasty!" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> It isn't the meat that's tasty, it's the marination. That usually makes them wonder and shuts them up. -- Pri, Toronto

  • I Can't Do It!

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "I could never go vegan - what about cheese?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> What about baby cows? -- Chris, Windsor, Ont.

  • It's Okay, You Can Still Eat Seafood

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "You eat fish, right?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> I don't eat things with faces or mothers. Since when did fish become plants? -- Steph, Toronto


    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Oh you're vegetarian? Are you one of those angry ones?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> No, I get angry when people ask me stupid questions. -- Sarah, Mississauga, Ont.

  • I Dare You

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "So you've never had meat!? Why don't you try it? <strong>The Comeback:</strong> No. I never did and I never will. Stop asking. -- Pri, Toronto

  • Oh, Because You're Indian

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Are you vegetarian because you are Indian?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> My mom makes the world's meanest butter chicken (arguably of course) and my dad tries to get me to eat it every time she makes it. Not all Indians are vegetarian/Hindu/cow worshiping. -- Roop, London, U.K.

  • Just A Phase

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Are you still doing that?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Yes, I am, and no, it's not just a phase. I'm so sorry it's such an inconvenience to you. I guess you're still asking stupid questions? -- Steph, Toronto

  • You're Golden

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Oh vegetarian? Nice. Good for you!" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Good for me? Yes, I know eating a healthy lifestyle is good for me, but don't make me feel like I deserve a good medal for not eating bacon.

  • In Our Blood

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "But cave men hunted and ate meat! We're carnivores!" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> The human <a href="http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/07/23/human-ancestors-were-nearly-all-vegetarians/" target="_blank">digestive system is more inclined towards plants than animals</a>, with small canine teeth and no claws. -- Dana, Vancouver

  • Hmm...You Don't Look Like One

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "You don't look vegetarian." <strong>The Comeback:</strong> The assumption here is if you are vegetarian, you should be skinny because of all the steak and Big Macs you're missing out on. Not quite. My one-year old calls me the cookie monster for a reason. -- Anjali, Toronto

  • I Have A Joke For You

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Ha! But you eat animal crackers, right? <strong>The Comeback:</strong> You're not funny and this joke wasn't funny when I was 12, either.

  • Life Must Be Hard

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "So, you're vegan, what do you eat?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> But what do you EAT? Just meats and starches? Isn't that restricting?" -- Monica, Ottawa

  • So Why Are You Eating A Burger?

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "How can you eat fake meat?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Why does it matter if my burger isn't made of meat? I don't know why we all can't just eat our burgers and be happy. -- Sam, Mississauga, Ont.

  • Your Food Is Weird

    <strong>What We Hear:</strong> "Vegan food is weird?" <strong>The Comeback:</strong> Our food is weird? You eat the butt of a pig with blood and skin, now that's weird! -- Kelly, Ottawa