Alterations in dietary protein intake have an important role in prevention and management of several forms of kidney disease. Using soy protein instead of animal protein reduces development of kidney disease in animals. Reducing protein intake preserves kidney function in persons with early diabetic kidney disease. Our clinical observations led us to the soy-protein hypothesis that "substitution of soy protein for animal protein results in less hyperfiltration and glomerular hypertension with resulting protection from diabetic nephropathy." These components of soy protein may lead to the benefits: specific peptides, amino acids, and isoflavones. Substituting soy protein for animal protein usually decreases hyperfiltration in diabetic subjects and may reduce urine albumin excretion. Limited data are available on effects of soy peptides, isoflavones, and other soy components on renal function on renal function in diabetes. Further studies are required to discern the specific benefits of soy protein and its components on renal function in diabetic subjects.