It's been a week of bad news for foodies. First we hear that bacon could cause cancer, and now this. If you favour veggies over meat to keep your conscience clear, it might be time to reconsider.

Apparently plants can tell when they're being eaten, and they even do their best to stop it happening, because they (obviously) don't want to die.

Researchers at the University of Missouri tested the response of thale cress – a plant similar in structure to broccoli and kale – to the vibrations caused when an insect starts eating one of their leaves.

In an effort to ward off their hungry predator, the plant slowly increases production of mustard oil – a mildly toxic chemical – to deter it.

Luckily for us humans, we eat at a far faster rate than say, a caterpillar, so the plant's slow release won't really affect us. 

"Previous research has investigated how plants respond to acoustic energy, including music. However, our work is the first example of how plants respond to an ecologically relevant vibration," said researcher Heidi Appel.

So there you go… next time you prepare a kale salad or broccoli bake, spare a thought for the poor veggies.