Pectus Excavatum Nutrition in 2022 – 4 Basics, Tips, Importance & More

Evidence Based This post has medical citations

Unfortunately, there is no scientific information about whether diets and dietary changes can help correct pectus excavatum. The concave chest deformity is not a problem caused by diet. 

Also, it is not proven anywhere that pectus excavatum patients are predisposed to eating disorders. Because of this, a change in diet is not that relevant here. 

Importance of Nutrition

Proper nutrition for pectus excavatum is essential to help you build muscle, lose fat, and improve your overall well-being. Make sure you eat a balanced and healthy diet.  

A diet high in saturated fat or a diet high in white sugar should not be on a menu of a pectus excavatum patient. 

Make it a Priority

To improve pectus excavatum by exercising, you must pay special attention to your diet. There is no purpose for you to sabotage yourself in the gym when you don’t consume the required nutrients to repair the muscle damage.

Only the patients who eat correctly can achieve the desired results through exercising.  

Healthy Body Fat Percentage

To maximize health and have an attractive-looking physique, you must achieve a healthy body fat percentage. Please make it a goal for men to be between 8% and 18%.  

You must supply your body with the necessary micro and macronutrients to build muscle and have optimal hormone levels.  

4 Important Basics

To accomplish this goal, you must obey the four following basics. 

  • Calorie requirement 
  • Macronutrient distribution 
  • Micronutrients 
  • Frequency of meals 

Calorie Requirement 

This is the most simple and most critical nutritional factor.  

On paper, it is straightforward. 

To lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit, i.e., eat fewer calories than your body burns. 

To gain weight, you must be in a caloric surplus, i.e., consume more calories than you burn. It would be best to remember this because most pectus excavatum sufferers have trouble gaining weight.  

The problem is in implementation. When you read it on paper, it looks straightforward. Many fail to practice the self-discipline required to obtain the desired caloric deficit or surplus through proper nutrition.  

Calculate How Many Calories You Need

First and foremost, you must calculate how many calories your body needs to gain or lose weight. Most pectus excavatum sufferers eat unconsciously. They think that they consume many calories when, in reality, they don’t satisfy their daily caloric requirements for their goals.  

Because of that, they always “brag” about how difficult it is for them to gain weight. I was one of these people. I thought that I ate a lot when in actuality, I needed to eat twice as much to bulk up.  

You don’t have to count every calorie to reach your fitness goal. I was never a fan of this, even though it may benefit some. Over time, you’ll develop a sense of how your diet affects your body. 

Use Apps

If you want to count your calories, I recommend the “MyFitnessPal” application on Android and iOS. It is very straightforward and free to use. 

It is critical to track your vacuum bell usage and workout logs to improve pectus excavatum.

Macronutrient Distribution 

Correct macronutrient distribution is essential, especially when fixing a concave chest non-surgically. 

The macronutrient distribution defines the ratios of carbs, fats, and proteins in nutrition. The body utilizes the nutrients to generate energy or create material for different components such as muscle, fat, organs, cells, hormones, bones, enzymes, DNA, etc. 

There aren’t perfect “macros,” as it varies from person to person. Everyone should know their optimal personal distribution of nutrients. 

Only the people who cover their caloric requirements with adequate macronutrients can be guaranteed to build muscle and lose fat optimally.  

Macros Distribution

According to the National Agricultural Library U.S Department of Agriculture, the following applies: 

  • Carbohydrates: 4 kcal/gram 
  • Protein: 4 kcal / gram 
  • Fat: 9 kcal / gram 

Which macronutrient distribution is optimal for you depends on your caloric requirement and body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph). 

Also, body fat percentage, exercise, and insulin sensitivity play a considerable role.

Micronutrients 

Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, and trace elements.

Micros are essential for the body to operate physically and mentally correctly. They are necessary for overall well-being; however, the organism can’t synthesize them by itself. Because of that, they must be consumed by food.

Eating fresh and high-quality vegetables, fruits, meat, and fish is essential to get enough micronutrients. Please avoid highly processed industrial foods.

The plants and animal products they use have poor husbandry, heat, storage, transport, and other processes that cause the vitamins and minerals to be lost. If you want to live longer and better, please consume unprocessed products. 

You can care for your body and lose weight simultaneously if you supply your body with all micronutrients. In actuality, you will lose more weight if you do this. The micronutrients influence your general health, metabolic functions, and thyroid function. 

Meal Frequency 

To gain weight or lose fat, you must change the frequency of your meals. Make it as easy as possible to meet your body’s caloric requirements.  

As a rule of thumb, if you’re an ectomorph and want to gain weight, you need to consume about 3500 calories per day. You’ll do this by having a few high-calorie meals.  

The opposite of this will make you lose weight as well. 

Intermittent fasting

In the last few years, the intermittent fasting diet has a hockey stick growth in popularity. In simple terms, it is part-time fasting. For example, you have an eating window of 8 hours, in which you need to consume all calories in the day.  

For example, to satisfy the caloric demands to gain weight, you need to have one or two delicious meals that will fill you up completely. Fasting helps you differentiate real hunger from simple appetite.

When you do not eat for 16 hours of the day, your body will get used to it after some time, and the hunger will disappear. To endure the fasting period, your body will use stored body fat for energy.  

Even though this diet is widely used, everyone should not use it. An example is people who have a lot of physical and mental stress. In this case, fasting will burden the body and mind. However, most people, including me, are not hungry till 1 p.m. and can have their last meal before 9 p.m.

Intermediate fasting greatly minimizes the feeling of hunger and makes it easier not to exceed the daily caloric requirement. If you don’t want to lose your favorite food and lose weight simultaneously, you should try this popular diet. 

Body Types & Nutrition

The split of ectomorph (hard gainer), mesomorph (regular gainer), and endomorph (soft gainer) represent different body types of individuals in terms of metabolism and their proportion. 

Ectomorph

  • Slim build/bone structure 
  • Narrow shoulders 
  • Poor muscle mass 
  • Low body fat 
  • It is tough to gain weight and build muscle 
  • Fast metabolism 

Mesomorph

  • Athletic frame/bone structure 
  • Hard body 
  • Nicely defined muscles 
  • Rectangular body construction 
  • Powerful 
  • Easy to gain muscle 
  • Can gain weight more easily than ectomorphs 

Endomorph

  • Soft and round body composition 
  • Can gain muscle and fat, quickly 
  •  Usually shorter than both ectomorphs and mesomorphs 
  • Chubby body construction 
  • The body shape is round 
  • It is tough to lose fat 
  • Prolonged metabolism 
  • Muscles aren’t well defined 

We are hybrid types with preferences towards one or another body shape in most cases. 

For example, I am an ectomorph/mesomorph. Back in the day, I was very skinny. Nowadays, I can quickly build muscle with proper nutrition and a workout regimen. 

An ectomorph (hard gainer) is generalized by a thin physique, long limbs, and low body fat percentage. He has a quick metabolism and has difficulty gaining weight and muscle. Thus, he should eat a diet rich in carbohydrates, the most immediate energy source for the body.

At the same time, it increases insulin levels, which promotes appetite. For clean muscle building, macronutrient distribution should look similar to this: 

  • Carbohydrates: 55% < primary source of energy 
  • Proteins 25% <building material for muscle gain 
  • Fat 20% < essential to keep hormone levels optimal 

It Isn’t All About Looks

Body type isn’t just the way an individual looks. It provides much information about how a person responds to food intake and hormonal and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) features.  

These are related to metabolic differences between people and affect how your body reacts to a diet and exercise. 

Understanding your body type can help you plan your nutrition and strength training workout program strategically and effectively.  

Specifying your body type should adjust nutrient intake to maximize your fitness levels and health-related goals. 

A proper workout routine, besides good nutrition, will change a person’s body appearance. Despite your body type, the ability to regulate carbohydrate-dense foods is enhanced during and after exercising. To simplify, it is ideal for eating sugary foods when you’re physically active. 

Conclusion

Even though nutrition doesn’t directly impact and can’t correct the chest cavity, it can help in faster muscle recovery and better post-surgical recovery.

Most people with pectus excavatum are skinny, and they need to be in a constant caloric surplus to gain weight.

The four most important things about nutrition are caloric necessity, macro and micros, and frequency of the meals. 

Article by:

Mihail Veleski

My name is Mihail Veleski. I used to suffer from the pectus excavatum deformity during my teenage years.

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