When it’s summer, I eat fruit.
It’s my mission. Got to get in as much as I can before the weather turns and the growing season ends.
I’d love to say I stroll through farmers markets, picking up wicker baskets of freshly-picked peaches…
Or kneel in the dirt of a U-pick farm, teasing plump strawberries from their stems.
But I don’t. I usually get whatever is on sale at the store.
That still counts, right?
We all know fruit is healthy.
We’ve heard rumors that blueberries cure cancer … or something.
But then there are all those diets that limit fruit because it’s got sugar in it.
There are all those experts telling us to avoid supermarket strawberries and nectarines, because they’re laden with pesticides.
So what’s the truth? Should we be eating a lot of fruit? If so, what kinds?
And does supermarket fruit even count?
Let’s find out!
1. Can you eat too much fruit?
If you read any of the literature on the evils of sugar, you’ll notice that fructose gets special mention.
Fructose is the form of sugar found in fruit. But it’s also the form of sugar that makes up high fructose corn syrup, found in a mind-boggling array of processed foods.
Fructose is one of the baddies contributing to some pretty major diseases, including obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease.
So you shouldn’t be eating fruit, then … right?
As Kris Gunnars so elegantly describes it:
Fruits aren’t just watery bags of fructose; they are real foods with a low energy density and lots of fiber.” 
It turns out that the fears about sugar in fruit aren’t substantiated by research.
In one study, researchers asked people to eat 20 pieces of fruit a day. (Is that even possible?) The fruit alone amounted to 200 grams of fructose a day, about what you would get if you drank 8 cans of soda. 
Did these people put on weight? Did their insulin levels spike?
The only thing that happened was that their LDL cholesterol dropped dramatically … and their bathroom habits became very regular.
So don’t worry about overdoing it on fruit, on one condition:
Eat whole pieces of fruit.
Applesauce, smoothies, juices and raisins don’t get a free pass. Processed fruit is a treat.
2. Are some kinds of fruit better for you than others?
Hands-down, the type of fruit that carries the most nutritional punch is:
Cranberries. Blackberries. Blueberries. Strawberries.
Eating blueberries and strawberries can improve your mental sharpness, giving you the brain of a person 2 ½ years younger. 
And you don’t have to wait for summer to enjoy them. You can find bags of frozen berries in the freezer section of your local grocery store. Thaw them out and throw them in cereal, yogurt, even pancake batter.
Fruit also fights cancer. One study found that eating more fruits and vegetables could prevent 20,000 cancer cases each year. 
The most potent cancer fighters are lemons and cranberries. Even small doses can cut cancer cell growth in half. 
One of my favorite ways to enjoy those two fruits is in this delicious beverage. Squeeze half a lemon into a glass, then add a splash of cranberry juice. Fill to the brim with sparkling water. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart—and oh so good for you!
3. Does supermarket fruit count?
Pesticides in produce are a big deal.
The Environmental Working Group advises buying organic strawberries, apples, nectarines and peaches, because of the high levels of pesticides found in ordinary supermarket fruit.
Fruits with thick skins like pineapples, melons, mangos, papaya, kiwifruit, and cantaloupe are usually fine.
If you’ve got the budget, then go ahead and buy organic. But if you’re on a budget, even non-organic produce isn’t cheap. A bag of cherries can cost more than two gallons of milk.
It can be cheaper to buy fruit snacks instead of real fruit. At least fruit snacks don’t spoil or go uneaten at the bottom of a kid’s lunch bag.
If worrying about the pesticides in strawberries means you end up buying strawberry-flavored fruit snacks instead, it’s pushing you in the wrong direction.
Focus on eating more whole pieces of fruit, regardless of where that fruit came from.
Get kids used to enjoying sweet fruits like peaches or mangoes for dessert. Make sure there’s always a bowl of fruit handy when hunger pangs strike. Make fruit part of your daily diet first.
Then, once eating fruit becomes a habit, you may want to try organic versions of your favorite fruits, or search out fresher fruit in your local farmers market. By then, you’ll know what you like and whether it’s worth spending the extra money.
But put fruit first. It’s too good for you to dismiss because of calories or pesticides.