Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are championing food replacements in favor of food so that more work can be done.

Food replacement products like Soylent and People Chow are protein powders that are being marketed as having the nutrients you need for a complete diet. All you have to do is mix water or milk with the powder and you can theoretically be full until the evening. Then, once you get hungry again, you just make yourself another one to be filled for the rest of the night. That way, you can continue to work.

Part of this expanded view of food and “meals” is the changing view of Big Food on a grander scale and family meals, a staple of the nuclear family. Instead of cooking our meals, Americans are increasingly consuming processed food. In fact, 61 percent of our calories in the U.S. come from processed snacks filled with sugar and fat. That means that on average Americans aren’t receiving the kind of nutrients they need from a normal diet, because the foods they are consuming aren’t very balanced and nutritious.

It also has to do with the deterioration of the nuclear family. As gender roles have changed, women have entered the work force in greater numbers, creating opportunity as well as competition. Add to that the gold rush that is Silicon Valley and you have increasing amounts of work hours, which leave little room for a proper meal. One can create and sell an app and be set for life, possibly generations to come, but the “family” is not getting together to eat anymore, if they have a family at all.

“I think engineers are ready to throw in the towel on the illusion that we’re having this family dinner,” a startup founder told The New York Times. Thus, eating becomes less about creating moments with family members than it is about utility. For that reason, replacement drinks have become appealing for those trying to become the next great CEO. They get the job done — a full stomach.

Despite the innovative food replacement products, however, most people would not opt out of their regular diets in favor of the liquid food, which some have likened to watery oatmeal or gas-inducing.