Contrex Natural Mineral Water
Calcium-Rich Water For The Ladies
CAPSULE REPORT: Louis XV’s physician prescribed Contrex: now you can drink the King’s water. In France, this high-calcium water is marketed as a “slimming water.” Don’t believe that it will help you lose weight any more than drinking lots of tap water. The pitch is that calcium is needed by dieters (so are lots of other vitamins and minerals not present in Contrex—take that multivitamin!). But the recommended daily intake of calcium per day is 1,000 mg. One liter of Contrex contains 486 mg, so prepare to spend a lot of time (and $4.00+ a day) drinking two liters (almost 68 ounces, or 1 gallon, 4 ounces) to get 972 mg. Regardless of the numbers and the hype, this is a sophisticated water, worthy of a taste. And if you’re not disposed to take vitamins or eat foods high in calcium†—or just want all the calcium you can get—drinking Contrex is an excellent way to get it.
†Almonds, bok choy, broccoli, collards, dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt), kale, spinach, calcium-fortified orange juice, tofu and soymilk.
With a pink bottle cap and a big red heart on the pink-and-blue label, men are not likely to reach for this bottled water. While Contrex began its ascent to fame as a restorative for France’s King Louis XV, in today’s crowded marketplace, parent company Nestlé knows whom to target this high-calcium content treasure: to women.
While “Shape Yourself Naturally™” with Contrex may cause some marketing-savvy observers to raise an eyebrow, female consumers have responded in droves—even the bottle is shapelier than almost anything else in the category. The appeal, that Contrex helps replenish the body with nutrients like calcium that may be lost while dieting, is true. We all know that calcium is vital for healthy bones and teeth, and helps slow the rate of bone loss as we age (and decreases the risk of bone fracture). Calcium also plays a role in nerve function and muscle contraction, and apparently it helps the metabolism as well.
In fact, if one is going to drink bottled water and one does not like to swallow vitamins, Contrex® Natural Mineral Water does kill two birds with one stone. It’s natural calcium, which absorbs better than that ingested by tablet. Among waters, Contrex is the “king of calcium,” and also is rich in magnesium and sulphate—highly unusual, and a beneficial chemistry to anyone who drinks it (including men and kings). However, each one-liter bottle contains 486 mg of calcium and 84mg of magnesium. While that’s a huge amount for a bottle of water, the suggested intake for an adult woman is 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day. That’s beaucoup de l’eau pour boire, and beaucoup d’argent to pay for it. Our advice: swallow the pills and drink whatever you want. For those people who will not take vitamins or drink milk and need their calcium, is this an alternative way to go? We are not a medical advisor, but we would conclude it is better to get some calcium than none.
On the palate, some people may not notice the high mineral content, others will (in fact, first serve it to people without an introduction, and and see if they comment). Unlike some high-mineral-content waters where you can taste the minerals, Contrex manifests itself not so much in flavor, because it is very low in sodium (salt) and bicarbonates. What one does notice is a lack of crispness and a thicker texture to the water—not “bad” characteristics. Evian is equally un-crisp, to our taste buds, and millions of fans have not decried its lack of crispness. When the water is served cold, much of this quality is “chilled away.”
The beneficial qualities of the water from the natural springs at Contrexéville, in the Vosges Mountains of northeastern France, the largest forest in the country. The springs have been known since Roman times. But wide acclaim came in 1774, when King Louis XV’s physician built the first spa there. Contrexéville water was recognized as a Natural Mineral Water by the French Government in 1861 and was first bottled in 1908. Prior to then, one had to “take the waters” in Contrexéville to enjoy the benefits of the water. And, with such a royal endorsement, people flocked there for centuries, to both bathe in and to drink the water from the thermal mineral springs.
Contrex is now owned by Nestlé. An environmental group, Agrivair, administers an environmental protection program that protects 22,000 acres around the perimeter of the springs. The plant welcomes visitors for a guided tour and tasting, including flavored versions not imported to the U.S.
*TDS = Total Dissolved Solids
Contrex is an elite water, hard to find, like Badoit. But if you like to drink lots of bottled water each day, this is a fine way to add supplemental calcium and a nice hit of magnesium.
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